Toyota set to recall Prius over brake problems

Toyota, recall, Prius
Toyota, recall, Prius

Beleaguered by complaints, Toyota is set to recall its popular Prius hybrid cars over brake problems, according to reports today.

The car giant is expected to file a recall soon with the Japanese transport ministry and the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Nikkei business newspaper says.

In other bad news for Toyota, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a formal investigation into the Prius's faulty brakes. That comes just as Toyota dealers are scrambling to fix faulty accelerators on eight other models of recalled Toyotas in North America, China and Europe.

Officials have received 124 complaints about Prius brakes, including four alleging crashes occurred. Toyota is calling the problem a "software glitch."

In Australia, some customers have complained their brakes feel inconsistent while driving over potholes and slippery pavement.

Toyota is now suffering from a public relations disaster of massive proportions, not helped by the fact that Toyota's President Akio Toyoda has not formally addressed the recall problems, instead sending a little-known executive in charge of quality to discuss the recall with the media. The executive was criticized for not bowing deeply as he entered the room, a standard gesture in Japan when a firm acknowledges its mistakes.

Facing mounting criticism, Toyoda is set to hold a press conference today in Nagoya, near the Toyota City headquarters, at 7 a.m. EST.

Toyota shares have lost around $30 billion, or a fifth of their value, since it launched a recall on accelerator pedals in the United States on Jan. 21.