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Toyota Fixing Coolant Pump in Prius

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2005 Toyota Prius

Washington DC November 30, 2010; The AIADA newsletter reports that USA Today reported that Toyota is replacing the pumps that cool the hybrid system in 650,000 Prius cars.

Toyota Motor spokesman Paul Nolasco said Tuesday the fix is needed in Prius cars for model years 2004 through to 2007. When the pump malfunctions, the car's hybrid system switches off to prevent overheating and the vehicle's regular gasoline engine takes over, he said.

However, the automaker emphasizes that the move is not a recall, but rather a "customer satisfaction campaign. "The problem doesn't warrant a recall under regulations where the vehicles have been sold," according to Nolasco. Of the Prius cars that need fixing, 390,000 are in North America and 180,000 are in Japan. The problem affects 70,000 Prius vehicles in Europe.

The Prius switches back and forth between a gasoline engine and an electric motor to deliver better mileage than conventional cars. The latest problem affects the core hybrid system. Toyota said there have been no reports of accidents related to the coolant problem, but 300 problems were reported in Japan, and 28 outside of Japan. It was not immediately clear when owners were being notified to bring their cars in for repair.