Toyota to fix 378,000 Prius hybrids for heat risk

DETROIT (BestGrowthStock) – Toyota Motor Corp will pay to fix about 378,000 Prius models in the United States for a coolant pump glitch that could cause the top-selling hybrid to overheat and lose power, the automaker said on Monday.

The repair campaign for Prius models built from 2004 to 2007 was detailed in a notice for Toyota’s U.S. dealers.

The Japanese automaker said it had not received any reports of accidents or injuries from problems with the pump, which circulates coolant for the hybrid system.

The automaker plans to replace the pumps on the Prius hybrids sold outside of the United States as well, Toyota spokesman John Hanson said.

Major automakers, including Toyota, often conduct repair campaigns that are separate from safety recalls filed with U.S. regulators in cases where they determine that a defect does not present a safety risk.

Toyota said the design of the electric water pump let air bubbles enter the system, slowing coolant circulation and allowing the hybrid’s components to heat up.

The heating up of the components could trigger a warning light. If left unattended, the Prius could overheat and drop into a “fail-safe” mode where engine power would be reduced, Toyota said.

Toyota said it would begin notifying owners of the Prius repair campaign in early December.

The automaker has used a different pump design on the Prius hybrid since that time and uses a different type of pump for other hybrids, Hanson said.

The largest number of the Prius hybrids up for repair in the United States is in California where about 107,500 of the vehicles are on the road, Toyota told its dealers.

Toyota will cover the cost of the repairs, including more than $100 in labor for each Prius fixed at a U.S. dealership.

The repair campaign on one of the best-known Toyota vehicles comes at the end of a year in which the top global automaker has struggled to distance itself from a damaging series of recalls and concerns about its quality management.

Since last November, Toyota has recalled about 14 million vehicles worldwide, including about 11 million in the United States.

(Reporting by Kevin Krolicki and David Bailey; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Richard Chang)

Toyota to fix 378,000 Prius hybrids for heat risk