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U.S. government reaction to third Toyota recall

Toyota issued a global recall of its 2010 Prius this morning during a marathon, emotional news conference featuring company President Akio Toyoda, the company founder's grandson.

The recall ropes in 223,000 hybrids sold in Japan, along with 133,000 Priuses and 14,500 Lexus HS250h vehicles in the United States. The problem with the hybrids is communication between their electronic and hydraulic braking systems. Sometimes when one switches over to the other, the brakes can feel squishy. However, Toyota is also recalling some 2010 Camrys with an altogether different braking problem: leaking fluid.

Moments ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation weighed in on the recall.

"Last Thursday, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration opened a formal investigation of 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles in response to consumer complaints about braking difficulties, and today, Toyota has acknowledged a safety defect," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "When I spoke with Toyota President Akio Toyoda last week, he assured me that his company takes U.S. safety concerns very seriously. The U.S. DOT will remain in constant communication with Toyota to hold them to that promise. In the meantime, if you are concerned about your car's braking performance, contact your Toyota dealer."

NHTSA recommends that Prius owners contact a Toyota dealer immediately if they notice a change in vehicle braking.

This is a much more somber statement than the one LaHood made during Hill testimony last week, when he told owners of Toyota vehicles under recall to stop driving them immediately and take them to a dealer. Even though he tried to back off what he called a "misstatement" later in the day, his warning crashed Toyota stock 7 percent that day.

Wednesday's planned hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform featuring Toyota executives has been postponed and is now penciled in for Feb. 23, the committee said today.

UPDATED: The committee just said it has settled on Feb. 24, at 10 a.m. for its hearing with Toyota execs, titled: "Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public At Risk?"

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By Frank Ahrens  |  February 9, 2010; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Camry recall, Ray LaHood, Toyota Prius, Toyota recall update, toyota recall model and years  
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Next: U.S. govt. looks at Toyota Corolla steering complaints


Technology takes all the fun out of danger and it's about to get a lot more dangerous.

Posted by: Dermitt | February 9, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

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