The Prius is not listed among the models that Toyota recently recalled (and temporarily stopped selling) for sticking accelerator pedals, but according to
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, it has its own acceleration problem. At the same time, on Wednesday, reports of Prius brake problems on that same model year emerged.
Steve Wozniak was speaking at the Discovery Forum 2010 when went off on a sidebar and began discussing his Prius' problems. Wozniak is a big fan of Toyota's hybrid, and has several. It's even appeared on camera when he was guesting on Kathy Griffin's "My Life on the D-List" as her faux boyfriend.
"I don't get upset and teed off at things in life, except computers that don't work right. Toyota has this accelerator problem we've all heard about. Well, I have many models of Prius that got recalled, but I have a new model that didn't get recalled. This new model has an accelerator that goes wild, but only under certain conditions of cruise control. And I can repeat it over and over and over again, safely.
"This is software. It's not a bad accelerator pedal. It's very scary, but luckily for me, I can hit the brakes."
Older models of the Prius have been recalled for accelerator issues, but in that case it was because driver's side car mats could interfere with the pedal. I kid you not, and my 2006 and 2008 models have been recalled, as well.
Meanwhile, Wozniak should be glad his brakes work. On Wednesday, a Toyota brake problem
was announced, and according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA
), it has received about 100 complaints involving the brakes of the Prius new model. Two involved crashes resulting in injuries. At the same time, Japan's transport ministry said Wednesday it has also received 14 complaints since July last year about Prius brake problems with Toyota's 2010 model.
This is just the latest blow to Toyota's reputation over quality. It's widely expected that Toyota, which managed to wrest the global market share crown from General Motors earlier, will see severe consumer backlash over this. Both Ford and GM are offering incentives for customers who switch from Toyota models.
Some analysts have speculated that in its race to #1, Toyota eschewed quality somewhat.