City CarShare pulls 8 Priuses from fleet

February 4, 2010 11:49:20 AM PST
City CarShare in San Francisco is pulling its fleet of Toyota Priuses after the Transportation Department opened an investigation into newly-confirmed brake defects with the popular hybrid. The investigation centers on the 2010 model; there as many as 37,000 of those vehicles across the country.

CarShare has eight of the Priuses in question in its fleet and they are taking all of them out of service while they wait for Toyota to tell them what the next step will be.

Zipcar, a competitor of CarShare which also provides vehicles to members, has not returned our calls regarding whether they have pulled any Priuses from their fleet.

Thursday, Toyota acknowledged there is a design flaw in the braking system on the Prius. They have yet to decide whether a recall is necessary and how to notify customers in the even they do that.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says it has received at least 124 complaints about a momentary loss of braking capability when going over bumps or uneven roads.

Couple that with Toyota's recall of 2.3 million cars of eight other models to fix sticky accelerators, and you have a pair of very expensive problems.

"Today was the first indication that Toyota gave about how much they'll lose; it's $2 billion what they're thinking it's going to cost this year in sales and earnings," Shawn Langlois of MarketWatch said. "That number could grow immensely if they don't take care of this."

Toyota's stock has already taken a beaten. It is down 20 percent since this all started, equivalent to $30 billion.