Lexus hybrid brakes under scrutiny in Toyota investigation

And now, the Lexus hybrid.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s investigation into brake problems with its Prius hybrid bled over to the Prius’ upscale cousin, the Lexus HS 250h hybrid, on Thursday.

The mechanical parts that make up the brake system in the Lexus model are identical to those in Toyota’s 2010 Prius, but the two gas-electric hybrid cars use different software systems to control the way the brakes are used, said Brian Lyons, a Toyota spokesman.

Still, he said, the Lexus is now part of Toyota’s investigation.


“If you’ve got an issue with the Prius, then you are going to look at the [Lexus] HS 250h too,” Lyons said. “The two cars have the same components, so we are looking at both cars despite the difference in their software tuning.”

News reports in Japan early Friday said Toyota planned a recall of 270,000 Priuses sold in the U.S. and Japan.

The company denied those reports: “As of now there is no recall planned for the Prius or the Lexus hybrid,” Lyons said.

The Japanese government ordered Toyota to investigate possible brake problems in the Prius on Wednesday after receiving 14 complaints about the car’s brakes.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received more than 100 complaints involving Prius brakes.

Accidents that resulted in injuries were involved in two of the complaints received by NHTSA and one received by the Japanese government.

The Lexus hybrid is built in Japan by Toyota. So far, Lyons said, Toyota hasn’t received any complaints about brake problems in that car.

The Lexus went on sale in Japan last July and in North America last September.