February 11, 2010 by Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner

Trouble on the Road? Toyota, Ford Vehicle Problems Persist

After announcing within the last two weeks that it was recalling a huge number of various models of vehicles due to problems with the accelerator pedal, Toyota Motor Corp. announced a worldwide recall of as many as 437,000 hybrid cars, including its popular Prius model, because of what may be problems with the braking system.

Additionally, Japanese news sources were reporting on Monday that Toyota was also gearing up to warn owners of the Lexus HS250h, also a hybrid model, that their cars may require similar repairs. This revelation will only further damage the Japanese auto maker by dragging its luxury line of vehicles into the same quagmire, and continue to damage the reputation of what had generally been regarded as one of the most quality-conscious car makers in the world.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received about 100 complaints involving the brakes of the Prius model. Two involved crashes resulting in injuries. (It is being reported that Prius models manufactured since May 2009 are not effected by the potential recall). Prius owners have reported what seemed to be a slight lag time between depressing the brake pedal and the actual slowing of the cars, as well as a pulsing of the brake pedal when braking on a bumpy road. While Toyota has said it is investigating the purported problems, it has also said it does not believe that there are safety concerns with the cars, and are questioning whether a problem actually exists.

The Associated Press has reported that Toyota group vice president, Bob Carter, sent an e-mail message to dealers late Friday, February 5, stating that “public awareness of the problem has prompted considerable customer concern, speculation, and media attention due to the significance of the Prius image”. He went on to say, “We want to assure our dealers that we are moving rapidly to provide a solution for your existing customers."

Now, it seems Toyota is not the only auto manufacturer with potential quality and safety concerns. Ford Motor Co. has announced it will upgrade the brake software on its Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrid models built prior to October 17, 2009, after the research firm Consumer Reports detected a braking issue. The auto maker estimates that about 18,000 vehicles could be affected by the electronic brake-software glitch. No injuries have been reported.

"We have received reports that some drivers have experienced a different brake feel when the hybrid's unique regenerative brakes switch to conventional hydraulic braking," Ford said in a statement Thursday. "While the vehicles maintain full braking capability, customers may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes." Customers with affected vehicles will receive a notice in the mail. Those owners should have the software reprogrammed at a dealership. There will be no charge.

“While it is true that the melding of computer technology and automotive safety systems have made huge advances over the cars of just a few years ago, unfortunately, problems can still arise that could be a factor in causing a tragic car crash,” notes attorney P.J. Scheiner, of the law firm Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner Personal Injury Lawyers, P.A. “Until owners of the cars suspected of having these problems can be assured that their vehicles are 100% safe for the road, they should monitor the situation closely via their local Toyota or Ford dealerships.”

When it comes to fighting for justice for those injured because of a defective product or a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another, the team of lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers is backed by a nearly 40-year legacy of standing up for victim’s rights. If you have been injured and would like a no-obligation assessment of your specific situation, call 1-800-Dial-BLS, or visit www.focusedonjustice.com. We will fight aggressively on your behalf, and you pay us nothing unless we win.

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