Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 1.9 million Toyota Prius hybrid cars around the world to fix a hybrid control unit issue that can make them automatically shut down and enter a limp-home failsafe mode. The recall covers around 713,000 units in North America, 997,000 in Japan, and 130,000 in Europe while the rest is spread across Oceania, the Middle East, China and other markets.
The affected models were produced between March 2009 and Feb. 5, 2014. Toyota dealers are tasked to reprogram software in the vehicle, which should take about 40 minutes, according to Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada. If the update doesn't take effect, dealers would have to replace a control module, which should take around three hours.
The software issue causes a problematic boost converter, which may result to overheating that can damage or deform transistors, Toyota said.
The carmaker said that the issue can cause warning lights; or cause the Prius to enter a failsafe mode wherein engine power is reduced just enough to bring it to the side of the road. The issue was first reported in May 2011 in the United States.
According to Yamada, in the first report, a warning light went off and the Prius entered the failsafe mode, although no injuries or accidents have been reported because of the problem.
The latest recall would be the third major one for the third-generation Prius. In February 2010, Toyota recalled 397,000 vehicles globally to fix an anti-lock brake software glitch. In June 2013, the carmaker recalled 87,000 third-generation Prius in North America to fix a brake pressure accumulator.