October 13, 2005

Toyota says Prius cars may have stalling problem

DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp. said on Thursday it
will notify about 75,000 Prius owners in the United States
about a potential software glitch that may cause the popular
hybrid cars to suddenly stall or shut down.

Toyota said the problem may cause warning lights in the
cars to illuminate. That can prompt the vehicles to enter a
"fail safe" mode that may cause their gasoline engines to

Hybrid vehicles twin a gasoline engine with an electric
motor and batteries to boost fuel economy.

Toyota spokeswoman Allison Takahashi said that, if the
gasoline engine stalls, the electric motor in the vehicles will
have enough power to allow the driver to pull the vehicle over
and away from the traffic.

The vehicles involved in the Toyota service action are from
the 2004 and 2005 model years.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has
received a number of complaints about the hybrid vehicles
stalling or stopping unexpectedly, often on highways.

Toyota will be sending out letters asking customers to take
the cars to a dealership for free repairs, Takahashi said.

No recall notice has been issued, she added.

Toyota sold 53,991 Prius cars in 2004 and 81,042 so far
this year. There is usually a waiting list to buy the vehicle,
which gets as much 60 miles per gallon of gasoline.