Toyota hit by new blow over Prius
Car giant Toyota has been hit by more than 100 complaints in the US and Japan about brake problems with its flagship Prius hybrid, it has emerged, in a new blow as it grapples with massive global recalls.
The Japanese company's sales have been battered in the US -- Toyota's biggest market -- after recalls of top-selling models to fix an accelerator pedal that can stick in the depressed position.
The new Prius petrol-electric hybrid, which went on sale in Japan and the US in May 2009, is not part of the recalls that extend to Europe and China, covering nearly 4.5 million vehicles.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received about 100 complaints involving the brakes of the new Prius model. Two involved crashes resulting in injuries.
Japan's transport ministry said it had also received 14 complaints since July last year about brake problems with the new Prius.
The 14 complaints included an accident last July in which a Prius crashed head on into another car at a junction. Transport ministry official Masaya Ota said two people were injured.
"The Prius driver in the accident told police that a brake did not work," Mr Ota said. "Other Prius drivers also complained brakes were not so sharp."
The complaints in Japan involved the new Prius model, and the vehicles were all made in Japan, he said.
The ministry ordered Toyota, the world's number one car maker, to investigate the complaints. The other 13 cases happened from December to January 2010. Mr Ota said the ministry had yet to receive a formal report on the complaints from Toyota.