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Toyota Recalls More Than 800,000 Prius Vehicles In U.S.

Photo caption:

Photo by Koji Sasahara AP

Toyota says it will use a software update to fix an issue with some Prius models, saying certain conditions could result in their unexpectedly stalling. Here, a Prius is seen during a test drive in Tokyo in 2011.

Toyota has announced a safety recall of some 807,000 Prius and Prius V cars in the U.S., saying that the company needs to fix a problem that could cause the vehicles to lose power and stall "in rare situations." The recall covers Prius vehicles from the 2010-2014 model years and Prius V cars from the 2012-2014 model years.

"While power steering and braking would remain operational," Toyota says, "a vehicle stall while driving at higher speeds could increase the risk of a crash."

The recall addresses the way the vehicles respond if their hybrid systems hit problems. The cars are designed to enter a fail-safe or "limp home" driving mode if the hybrid system overheats or develops other issues.

"We've found that in rare situations, the vehicle may not enter a fail-safe driving mode as intended," Tania Saldana, a Toyota spokeswoman, said in an email to NPR. "If this occurs, the vehicle could lose power and stall."

When asked whether any crashes had been reported because of the issue, Toyota offered no comment.

Toyota's new recall covers about 2.43 million Prius cars worldwide, including more than 1 million that were sold in Japan and nearly 300,000 in Europe, according to Automotive News.

To fix the problem, Toyota will update software in the vehicles. The company says its dealers will contact affected Prius owners when the software is available.

The company says the issue differs from problems with the Prius fail-safe mode that were addressed in the 2014 and 2015 recalls. Those problems were also fixed by software updates to vehicles' motor electronic control units and hybrid drive ECUs.

To see whether your vehicle is mentioned in a safety recall, you can check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's site.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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