Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) has initiated a worldwide recall for more than a million of its gasoline/electric hybrid Prius cars to fix an electrical system problem that could cause a fire. The recall affects model years 2016 to 2018 Prius, Prius plug-in hybrids and C-HR sport utility vehicles.
More than half of the vehicles affected by the recall were sold in Japan, according to CNN Money, and about 192,000 were sold in the United States. U.S. owners will begin receiving voluntary recall notices in the mail from Toyota later this month.
According to Toyota’s U.S. announcement, an engine wiring harness connected to the hybrid vehicle power control unit could wear out over time, causing a short circuit that could generate enough heat to cause an engine fire.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a Toyota spokesman said an incident was reported in Japan in which no one was injured. The spokesman would not say whether or how many other incidents may have occurred.
U.S. Toyota dealers will inspect the wiring harness on recalled vehicles and replace it if a wire core is exposed. If no wire is exposed, the harness will be taped to prevent abrasion. The work will be done free of charge.
Toyota does not sell the C-HR SUV in the United States, and sales of its Prius hybrids have slowed significantly. When the company reported U.S. sales on Tuesday, August sales were down 15% year over year, and sales were down nearly 17% year to date. The only Prius vehicle with higher sales this year is the Prime plug-in hybrid.