Toyota Prius recall affects 670,000 American cars

A new Toyota Prius hybrid car sits on display at Marin Toyota on March 20, 2009, in San Rafael, California.

As part of a global recall that affects nearly 2.78 million cars, Toyota is asking 670,000 American Prius owners to bring their cars to the dealership to fix steering and powertrain problems.

The Japanese automaker sold the affected Prius models from 2004 to 2009, The New York Times reported.

Outside the US, Corollas and the Wish van (which is not sold in North America) are also affected.

“If the steering wheel is frequently and forcefully turned to the full left or full right position while driving at low speeds” steering failure can occur, The Times said.

Toyota said today that no crashes are blamed on the faulty steering component, which is apparently not strong enough and could break, The Associated Press reported.

The largest recall comes in Japan, where more than 1.5 million vehicles are affected. Another 1.25 million were sold around the world.

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Also at issue are defective water pumps in 620,000 various Toyota hybrids, the AP said.

Long reputed for their reliability and quality, Toyota has battled numerous recalls in recent years, the AP said.

Toyota announced its largest ever recall last month when it admitted to problems with 7.43 million models, the majority of them in the US, NBC News said.

It was the biggest auto recall since 1996, NBC said.

Toyota also endured a high-profile battle with owners about three years ago over sudden acceleration problems with its trucks and hybrids.

The company is still the world’s most successful carmaker, and expects to sell 10 million cars this year, NBC said.

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