Toyota investigation of Prius brakes extends to Lexus hybrid

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And now, the Lexus hybrid.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s investigation into brake problems on its Prius hybrid bled over to its upscale cousin, the Lexus HS250h hybrid, on Thursday.

The mechanical parts that make up the brake system on the Lexus model are identical to those on Toyota’s 2010 Prius, but the two gas-electric hybrid cars use different software systems to control the way the brakes are used, said Brian Lyons, a Toyota spokesman.

Still, he said, the Lexus is now part of the investigation.

“If you’ve got an issue with the Prius, then you are going to look at the (Lexus) HS250h too,” Lyons said.

“The two cars have the same components, so we are looking at both cars despite the difference in their software tuning.”

News reports in Japan early Friday said Toyota planned a recall of 270,000 Prius cars sold in the U.S. and Japan. The company did not confirm the reports.

“As of now there is no recall planned for the Prius or the Lexus hybrid,” Lyons said.

The Japanese government ordered Toyota
to investigate possible brake problems in the Prius on Wednesday after
receiving 14 complaints about the car’s brakes. The U.S. National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received more than
100 complaints involving the brakes prior to opening its investigation
Thursday.

Two of the U.S. complaints reported to the NHTSA, and one of the complaints in Japan, involved accidents that resulted in injuries.

The Lexus is built in Japan by Toyota. So far, Lyons said, Toyota hasn’t received any complaints about brake problems with the car.

The Lexus hybrid went on sale in Japan last July and in North America last September.

(c) 2010, Los Angeles Times.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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