Third-generation Prius recall in the UK

Toyota GB has today released the following statement concerning Prius in the UK:

‘Toyota today announced a global recall on the latest, third-generation Prius built before 27 January 2010. This will involve 8,500 cars in the UK.

To date, there have been no accidents linked to this issue reported in Europe. No other Toyota or Lexus models are affected by this latest recall action in Europe.

Toyota GB would like to apologise to its customers for any concern this issue has caused.

The recall is being taken in response to reports of inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady braking on bumpy or slick road surfaces when the anti-lock braking system (ABS) is actuated.

This recall will consist of a software upgrade in the anti-lock braking system. The procedure will be carried out free of charge and will take approximately 40 minutes using standard test equipment in use at all authorised Toyota service centres.

In keeping with VOSA’s code of practice, Toyota will write individually to every owner or keeper in the next few days having obtained their contact details from the DVLA.

In the meantime, the cars are safe to drive. At no time are drivers without brakes. Toyota GB guarantees to every customer its utmost attention to making this upgrade as quickly and efficiently as possible.’

If customers have any questions or concerns regarding the above, please ring Toyota GB Customer Relations on 0800 1388 744, open 8am – 8pm during the week.

NEW 11/2/10: Further information can be found at


  1. I would like to know how long ago this new software was developed? How long has it been in testing? How much of the code was changed? And is there any possibility that the new software could have introduced a potential new problem.
    There is a case to say that sticking with the current software would be safer, in that 8,500 cars have been driving so far in the UK without incident. At least until the new software has been around for a while and given some confidence.

    1. Daniel,

      I think you are perhaps reading a little too much into the phrase ‘software update’. Typically the update will merely involve the changing of a number of parameters within the existing software rather than a rewrite. It’s not exactly like Internet Explorer!
      I would say that they are likely to revert to parameters similar to previous generation Prius’ as they know there are no problems currently being experienced by the brakes on those vehicles.
      Also how would you suggest that the software would be ‘around for a while’ unless people were actually using it?!


  2. My prius went on for the 10K service last week, why didnt they just undertake the install then. No Fuss that way. Also maybe they can fix the SW problem with the radio and bluetooth connection. This more dangerous than the brake issue.

  3. I have just booked my car in for a ABS check as 2 weeks ago when my wife was driving she tried to stop at a junction, the roads were very icy – the ABS did not kick in, and she went straign on just missing another car. Apart from this one incident its been a great car..

    1. how do you expect the ABS to work on ice. Ice as an extrmely low if co-efficient of friction therefore ABS is not going to work as it normally does,

  4. I’ve had a first generation Prius since 2001 & also now have a third. I’ve always noticed a loss of brake feel when the abs kicks in on a bumpy road (or taking a speed bump quickly then braking) isn’t that the price you have to pay for abs versus non-abs?
    You lose weight on the wheels after leaving a hump while braking hard, the wheel locks up, abs kicks in by releasing the brake, you’re back on the road with no brake & apparent lack of control for a brief moment. The alternative is a locked front driving wheel then a skid.
    I’ve experienced it more on the third generation so as Frank Horn said it probably is just a change in the timer before re-applying the brake.

  5. I have a Toyota Previa 2006 T-Spirit. On the 2 ocassions I have driven through water after a heavy downpour my steering wheel has locked. Had I not slowed down to do so, I dread to think what could have happened, I would not have been able to manouevre the car at all out of the path of any oncoming vehicles – luckily on both ocasions the roads were pretty clear!! I have booked my car in to be looked at but I am scared to drive it now.

  6. The most difficult thing is to have spent £20K+ on the Prius,reputed to be a class leader and role model for environmentally responsible driving, and then find you’re a laughing stock because they’re badly manufactured.

    This will undermine rather than consolidate the reputation of hybrid cars as an up-to-date contribution to the energy problem. What a shame.

    1. Bit harsh Nigel,

      You still have a good car and the recall will sort things out for you. I work as a taxi driver and the recent recall has been a popular topic with my colleagues. One thing that we noted was the number of cars (non Toyota) that have been also recalled in the past. I don’t think there was a make or model in our fleet that hasn’t been recalled at some time or other. It’s just that they didn’t make it to the news.

    2. How does it make you a laughing stock?

      It’s a car that has been recalled for an update, as most makes & models have at some point.

      I have the 3rd gen prius that is being recalled – I’m certainly not a laughing stock. It’s a car!


  7. so the greenest car on the planet is once again proved to be the ungreenest car, along with the co2 foot print of making this car (which is higher than my aston) whats the co2 cost of this recall enviroMentalists please answer?


  8. I am on my third Toyota (previous two Corollas, current Prius 2nd generation). My faith in Toyota has not diminished with the recent major recalls. I believe if Toyota had handled the public relations side of things better and listened to their many loyal customers perhaps they would not be in the situation they are now. Who better to test a car to the limit than someone driving it day in day out! For myself I still feel protected and safe when driving my Toyota and would not let this change my mind about the overall safety of the vehicle.

  9. After building over a million cars without any problems the Prius needs a software update and this makes it ‘badly manufactured?’ and you are a laughing stock because of this? My Mobile has been (software)updated nearly 8 times last year does that mean i am a laughing stock because it is badly manufactufered? updates are there to improve things not to correct faults. Going forward as more and more things become reliant on electronics there is always going to be a need to software update them so get used to it.

  10. what a time? but remember Northern Ireland celebrates the titanic to this day as a success. It has still not arrived in new york, lying rusting at the bottom of the Atlantic.

    Which is the best suzuki model to buy then?.

    Gerry Belfast

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