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

Comments (57)

  1. My Prius has terrified me so many times since I collected it that it is now immobile pending upgrade. Dealer says they do not have the equipment to do the upgrade and we must wait. On the positive side, while the car is off the road it means I no longer have the back problems I was experiencing. Not impressed by the service. After this experience I will never willingly drive a Toyota again.

  2. I’ve just had the ABS brake software update done at the supplying dealer. No fuss just excellent service. Brilliant car and drive, so much less stressful and all the gadgets work.

    Apart from a couple of plastic squeaks when going over over bumps, we’re happy with it. The dealer is happy to take it in and sort out the squeaks till fixed, what more can one ask?

    I really hope Toyota can ride out this media storm and keep coming out with good products. They have to put the Quality house from the 80’s and 90’s back in use and expand operations more carefully to avoid getting caught up in expensive post production fixes that dent their reputation.

    My main hope is that the ‘thinking public’ will see through the media hype and come back to buying Toyota, especially when it comes to replacement time for my Prius 🙂

    Seriously good car though. keep up the good work.

  3. I have owned 3 Mercs and each one had problems so I will not buy German cars again, I have my first Toyota at the moment and have been informed it will be recalled, I have never had any problems to-date, I think it is a fantastic car and no hyped up USA led witch hunt will change my mind.
    The Americans are desperate to sell there own cars and the only way they can do that is by attacking Toyota and Honda.
    Toyota’s do not become bad cars overnight.My next car will be another Toyota.

  4. Hi
    My Prius is on your recall list but your site does not allow input of repair center?? Please let me know how to register.

  5. Oh what poetic justice!!! After several problems with my RAV 4 including Fly wheel (8k miles out of warranty)and transfer box. Toyota quote almost £4k. Toyota not willing to help at all. Got it fixed, got rid. Will never buy the overpriced, underperforming Toyota again. There is a God…..

  6. My Prius, a 58 plate, does loose braking when going over a wet manhole cover, bumpy road or wet area with the yellow light on the dashboard coming on.
    Just thought that was the way it was as it has always done it. My sat nav also has a problem with lines coming accross it and the info stored being wiped and my radio changes frquency for no reason too. The stangest thing was when I got out because the door open light was lit on my dashboard and the car drove off without me in it, luckily I was able to get back in and turn off the engine but it was weird.


  7. Had my Prius a month and it’s done it once, ie the brakes seem to release coming up to a junction for a fraction of second. A little scary at the time but all is forgotten now, until it goes into have whatever they’re going to do, done to it.

    I feel sorry for Toyota here. The car is quality, as have been the last four Avensis I’ve had previously. If you check the central vehicle recall site there are literally thousnads of recalls affecting all makes and models but this time the press and the USA in particular have turned it into a witch hunt. Success breeds contempt.

  8. I have just taken delivery of my new (and first) Prius. It’s my first Toyota too. I’m thrilled with it and it’s the first car I’ve ever looked forward to driving! Staff at Toyota have been brilliant too. I suspect the vast majority of Toyota drivers know they have a quality car and will hold firm.

  9. We have run Prius on our fleet since they were introduced and currently have 7 a mixture of GEN 2 and 3 with more to be added.I myself run a Gen 2 which has shown the braking problem when going over rough surfaces at no time did I feel in danger. Toyota have announced the recall and I am sure that they will sort any problem with there normal efficiency it will certainly not stop us from running Toyotas.

  10. I totally agree with all the support for the excellence of Toyota engineering. The press have to create mass scares to attract readers and this has been yet another example of hyper-hysteria. I will happily drive mine until the panic subsides and Toyota ask me to bring the car in for an upgrade

  11. Bloody media hype and litigious Americans.

    My 59-plate T4 is fantastic. I bought a Toyota, because I found the quality of German/Swedish manufacturers not to be there. (You pay a premium for European car, and then it turns out to be a pile of pants).

    This non-problem with the Prius is only a recall because of the lazy journalist scum who just look for similar stories to their current headline.

    Happy Toyota Owner.

  12. My gen3 prius is my first Toyota and having had various company cars over the last 12-13 years the prius is probably 2nd on the list but catching on 1st the more miles i do.
    My Prius is currently off the road as my fleet dept has recalled it for inspection as i experienced the brake issue.
    I did express that at no point did the car feel unsafe to drive but I just hope it gets sorted and I get it back SOON!!!

  13. My late 2007 gen 2 is suffering from the same symptoms that the recall notice says can happen ,drive over any pothole (hard to miss on britains roads) while going down any incline while trying to brake and the peddle goes light and the yellow light flashes on the dashboard,if Toyota want to come test it they ar free to do so.

  14. My first Prius was a second generation (great car] no trouble at all my third generation prius even better.
    Have not experianced any brake problems at with either
    I have had much more trouble with Merc’s Jag’s ford’s.
    All of which were recalled at some time.
    I think the media have gone over the top on this story
    perhaps they need a recall a brain transplant may help.
    Why are they so anti Toyota ?(obviously never owned one)
    Best cars i have ever had by far.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I’m on my third Toyota now, a 3rd gen Prius, I can’t fault it. My two previous Toyota were exceptional, excellent reliability.

      I will remain loyal to Toyota, let the media led sheep buy from other manufacturers.


    2. Alan, you’re spot on. Like others have said I couldn’t agree more. My bosses Jag XJ literally spent more time in the garage than on the road. The media do seem to enjoy slating Toyota.

  15. if my sources are correct the so called accelerator pedal in question is manufactured by a company that supplies Toyota and many other manufactureres of cars… (apparently Toyota only receive 10% of their stock) how come no-one else is recalling their cars or how come the press hasnt labelled them as unsafe to drive?

  16. Some facts from America……

    Toyota has the Best Resale Value of all brands for 2010 according to Kelley Blue Book’s [1]

    Toyota brand scores highest in satisfaction with reliability/dependability [2]

    Toyota, the most dependable and fuel-efficient car company [3] [4]

    Toyota is the best-selling car company in America

    so this means………………

  17. How am I supposed to know what “generation” my Prius is? Nowhere on the registration document is a “generation” mentioned.

    Date of first registration is 25/9/08.

    1. September 2008 would be a second generation. I have one from June 2008, and have just rung the Toyota freephone number to double-check, as I would have thought that a software shortcoming would apply retrospectively. They told me that the third-generation cars were built from scratch, and not based on the second-generation components, so the problem does not apply to our model. Hope this helps. My main problem with the car is the sightlines because of the thick pillars both front and back.

      1. Sorry, but some Gen 2 cars suffer the same braking problem as the Gen 3. However, Toyota GB don’t acknowledge it yet.

    2. The Gen 3 is the current shape of the Prius that was launched last Summer. The Gen 2 is the previous shape that was launched 7 years ago.

    3. Hi Tony,

      Don’t worry, ‘generation’ is an informal term and wouldn’t appear on documentation. Each redesign of Prius has been said to be a new ‘generation’.

      To clarify: the current third-generation Prius, as we say in the UK, was launched in August 2009, though orders for it could be placed a couple of months prior to that. You have a second-generation Prius. The easiest way to tell the difference externally is the shaping of the lights (sharper angles on the third-gen) and the shape of the roof (the highest point is further back on the third-gen). This tells you what the changes are internally.

      Bloghead has used American classifications, which are slightly different – ‘model year 2010’ is not used much in the UK.
      Jake – I think some third-gen Prius have 09 reg.

      I hope that’s cleared things up!

  18. Luv my toyota on my 3rd now due to comfort problems with me back all 3 vehicles have been fab got rav xt5 auto now 56 reg amazing peice of technolagy wish my dealer was as good as the car mind. all manufacturers have recalls and most have alot more than toyota it just the media being a nightmare as usual

  19. I was checking some sites and looking for recalls of different cars (all brands). I think there’s no one single model on the road that hasn’t been recalled at some point or at least I couldn’t find it. Toyota has less recalls than most of brands (less than the ones I saw). I don’t know how the problem with the 3rd gen is, but with my 2nd gen everything works fine. I drive mostly in the city with my family and for me that’s the best car we’ve had.

  20. I have just got a new Prius T-Spirit and I love it to bits!
    It’s such an amazing car to drive – sheer pleasure. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
    The recall is not going to diminish my enthusiasm for the car. It’s just a software upgrade. I’m pleased that Toyota admitted that there is a possible issue with the breaks and has already taken actions to resolve it.

  21. TO all those who think that Toyota have problems go onto the government website for car recalls and have a look at some other manufacturers.

  22. Lest not forget some Gen 2’s too as they have exacty the same issue, braking wise, as the Gen 3. The media will have a frenzy when that one gets out. My Gen 2 (57 plate) suffers quite a bit with a loss of braking feel when the car skips over anything on the road.

    1. I should add though that both of my Prius I have owned including my current Gen 2 have behaved extremely well indeed with over 90,000 combined miles. Pity I can’t afford a Gen 3 🙁

  23. We had my first prius (the first model on the market) for five and half years during which time it never gave us any trouble. We changed it for the lastest model in September 2009. We have had our new one five months now with no problems. Toyota rarely have a callback, unlike some manufactures who have regular callbacks. We love our prius and would not change it for anything else.

  24. I have had eight Toyotas so far, in three countries. None have ever let me down, apart from the current Verso, which was fixed. I put this down to the company’s increasing use of the four UNS and one EX- unnecessary-unrepairable-untried-unreliable and expensive. To wit: the black box. This piece of kit is showing up in more and more cars- not just Toyotas- which were the standard of reliability. It is an electronic box which costs about £580 give or take a vat here and there. It cannot be fixed, it can only be replaced, and it can only be diagnosed by an official dealer. It is increasingly seen on the gearbox, the brakes, the override, etc etc. In the old days it was all wires, nuts, bolts-which any roadside geezer in Africa, Indonesia and Thailand could fix, now it’s this throw away piece of software management. If it was reliable, necessary, repairable and cheap, there would be no problem. I think it is this fork in the road that the company has gone down, that has led it to its current problems. Namely to make more money: by having only Toyota service Toyota.
    And as we know, it is the Love Of Money which is the root of all evil.

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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?


  29. 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!


    3. Hello Nigel,

      If anything, this incident has only made us Toyota owners feel well looked after.

      BTW, I am a new Prius owner having had a BMW3 and an Audi A3 prior to that.


  30. 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.

  31. 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.

    1. Tony, I don’t think it’s the ABS that kicks in on a dry bumpy road. The Prius hybrid has got a regenerative braking system that converts (some of) the kinetic energy into battery power. There is still a conventional mechanical braking system that is used if you need to brake really hard and the regenerative brake can not cope. There seems to be something in the electronics of the Prius that makes that when braking over a bumpy road, the regenerative system is switched off for a few seconds (perhaps to protect the system?), with the conventional brake only effective if you push the brake further. I have noticed this in my 2nd generation Prius. If this happens don’t ‘freeze’ in a panic, just push the brake further and you’ll stop in time before the red light :). I guess this issue is more noticable now with the many little potholes created by the night frosts.

  32. 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,

  33. 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.

  34. 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?!


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