13 Feb 2014

Global recall of Prius cars by Toyota

4:19 pm on 13 February 2014

More than 1000 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles in New Zealand are being recalled due to the discovery of an electrical fault that can cause them to stop moving.

A Toyota Prius car in Tokyo.

A Toyota Prius car in Tokyo. Photo: AFP

The recall affects Prius vehicles sold new in New Zealand and manufactured between March 2009 and February 2014. Owners of these cars are being contacted. The New Zealand vehicles are part of a global recall of 1.9 million cars.

Toyota said the malfunction related to a fault with software used to control a power converter which could cause the vehicles to slow suddenly or stop while driving.

In most cases the defect could set off a vehicle's warning lights and "probably" cause it to enter failsafe mode, in which the car can still be driven but with reduced power, the company said.

"It would slow down, eventually to stop," a spokeswoman added.

Toyota said it was aware of more than 400 cases of the problem, including 300 in Japan and 90 in North America.

The Prius, the world's first mass-produced petrol-electric hybrid car, was launched in 1997.

The problem is the latest for Toyota and other Japanese carmakers that have recalled millions of vehicles in recent years.