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article imageToyota knew Prius had brake problems

By Michael Bearak     Feb 4, 2010 in Business
The Toyota Prius have been linked to four crashes along with mounting complaints about the performance of their brakes. Eventually that led to a request by the Japanese government for an investigation.
Toyota has reportedly known for some time that the Prius was subject to problems with their brake system and went so far as to correct that problem in the newer productions of the car. Nevertheless Toyota opted to keep Prius drivers in the dark until the Japanese government demanded an investigation.
Since January the hybrid cars coming off the assembly line in Japan have been upgraded to a new and improved version for braking software.
While Toyota had said nothing about the problems publicly in regards to problems. Before Tuesday's release of the requested Japanese government inquiry into the mounting complaints with the Prius Toyota was totally tight lipped and their customers were completely in the dark about the risks of the Prius.
As of Wednesday 124 Prius owners in the United States have made formal complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the brakes with the Prius. The NHTSA announced on Thursday that they were launching an investigation of their own based on the complaints they have received.
in the four crashes, two have involved injuries, but all have been attributed to poor brake performance in the 2010 model year.
Consumers have been reporting that when applying the brakes there is a momentary loss of braking power. This is most prevalent when going over uneven roads, potholes, or a bump in the roadway.
One consumer on the NHTSA's public Web site stated, "When braking, if a pothole or bump in the road is hit, the car seemingly jerks forward/accelerates for a split second."
Toyota released a statement on Thursday saying that they are cooperating with the NHTSA's investigation.
Toyota managing officer Hiroyuki Yokoyama denied that Toyota was trying to cover up issues with the Prius' braking system. Toyota called the change in braking software just part of their "constant quality improvements."
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