After hundreds of complaints from Toyota owners around the United States, Toyota is recalling 2.4 million of its hybrid Auris and Prius models for defective vehicle parts. This stands as one of the most surprising auto recall and Toyota recall events in history.
The auto recall includes Toyota Prius models from 2010 to 2014. The Prius was recalled in a similar way earlier because of a software bug that was still unsuccessful in preventing many dangerous power shortages in the months after the announcement of defective vehicle parts in the vehicle.
News of the auto part recalls were made bigger through articles in the Times and through word of mouth on the Internet. Hundreds of Prius owners made it their business to complain to Toyota dealers of the auto recall and Toyota recall, and much of the fuss about the defective vehicle parts was done through online forums and auto themed message boards.
The Nature of the Problem
The more than 2 million cars with defective auto parts were said to have an electronic defect that had the potential to cause unexpected losses of power in the vehicle. This loss of power drastically increased the risk of crashing. In the auto recall notice that came out to Toyota dealers in the United States, Toyota admitted that the results of the previous auto part recalls were also unsuccessful.
The auto recall and Toyota recall problem stretches well beyond the borders of the United States, however. As a matter of fact, the majority of the vehicles that are being recalled for defective vehicle parts are not in the United States. 807,000 Toyota vehicles with defective vehicle parts are being recalled from America, and a staggering 1.25 million Toyota vehicles are making their way back to the factory from Japanese owners.
Toyota announced a similar auto recall at the same time in Tokyo as it did in the United States. However, it took much less prodding from Japanese owners than from American owners. Only three reports were made of the electronic stall out from Japan before Toyota issued the auto recall order to dealers in the country.
The Problem and the Solution?
Toyota issued guidance that a solution for the auto part recalls would be forthcoming. Experts think that the solution will be another update of the software. Toyota faces additional problems from unhappy dealers, some of whom are suing the company for delivering faulty products knowingly. These dealers’ cases are made stronger by the fact that Toyota admitted its previous update was completely unsuccessful.
The hybrid system of the Prius centers around a small box known as an inverter. The inverter is the device that takes electricity from the battery in the Toyota to the motors, reducing the voltage after the brakes have a chance to recharge the battery.
Because of the error, the inverters in the Prius have been heating up far too quickly. This overheating causes a breakdown in the software that functions as the control over the entire hybrid vehicle. When the software shuts down, the vehicle automatically goes into a mode that is known as “limp home mode” that is really only meant for short term driving to the side of the road after an accident.
The Times says that it received dozens of emails about the Prius inverter from owners across the country. All of these emails say similar things: The vehicle lost power unexpectedly and left the people in the vehicle stranded under a great deal of duress. This is true even for owners of Prius models that took the vehicle back for the previous recall.
Currently, Toyota faces at least one class action lawsuit headed by a California Toyota dealer, Roger Hogan. This suit alleges that the previous recall of Toyota did not fix any of the electronic or mechanical defects that are affecting people today. Hogan filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2017 seeking damages for cars with melted parts due to the failed software fix of the 2014 recall update.
The NHTSA is currently looking into the suit and has given no guidance for or against its stance so far. It refused to answer questions about whether it had closed its older inquiries when asked about them by the Times.
If you or any of your loved ones are suffering a tragedy or been in accident due to any of the recalls mentioned above, then you may have a case for damages in court. However, you will need lawyers with the expertise and resources to represent you. Contact the auto accident lawyers at Garcia and Ochoa of McAllen for a free consultation and to you learn more about your rights.