Troubled Toyota forced to cut Prius output
Published 16/03/2010 | 05:00
THE worldwide collapse in sales of Toyota's bestselling Prius has forced the Japanese car giant to make a significant cut in production.
It follows the global recall of 8.5million cars, including nearly 450,000 Prius hybrid models amid claims of defects with the accelerator pedals and the braking systems.
Reports from Tokyo indicate that production of the hybrid, which is made in Japan, will be cut by 10pc. Since the third-generation, electric-petrol Prius was launched last May, output had been boosted to 50,000 vehicles a month. It is understood that will be pared back to about 45,000 a month.
Toyota UK said last month that there would be temporary production halts at UK plants in Burnaston, Derbyshire, and Deeside, North Wales, for two weeks before and after Easter.
There has been an estimated 40pc fall in sales of the Prius in the United States -- its most important market -- since their peak last October. The Prius recall was issued after it was found that the brakes could fail when cars moved between electric and petrol power and particularly in bumpy or icy conditions.
About 9,000 Prius cars in the UK have been affected. There have since been claims that Prius vehicles have sticking throttle pedals.
The previous Prius model is also the subject of recall in the US to counter the risk of drivers' feet being trapped by mats under accelerator pedals.
In Japan, the new Prius has been a success, topping the bestselling cars for the past nine months, because of state subsidies and tax incentives. (© The Times, London)