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Toyota plans to fix engine problem in Prius hybrid

A Toyota Prius.

Toyota plans a voluntary safety campaign, which is similar to a recall, of more than 400,000 vehicles worldwide, including several thousand Prius hybrid gas/electric vehicles in the United States.

But local dealers said the campaign should not stall sales of Prius, which has been in high demand because of higher gasoline prices.

For certain 2001 and 2002 Prius models, engine oil could leak into a sensor causing the engine to stall and not restart, Toyota stated in its announcement. The safety campaign involves 8,500 Prius models and 26,500 Echo compact cars that have the same problem, said Wade Hoyt, a Toyota spokesman.

Though no reports of accidents have occurred, a worst-case scenario could be scary for motorists, Hoyt said. The sensor could fail while the vehicle is being driven causing it to shut off and not restart, Hoyt said.

Automakers can perform voluntary safety campaigns, which unlike a recall doesn??t involve an investigation, followed by a recall order from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Two local Toyota dealers said they doubt the recall will hurt sales.

??Recalls are normal with all products,?? said Kevin Blackburn, the new car manager at Russel Toyota in Balti

Most dealerships have waiting lists for Prius with the average Prius sitting on the dealer lot for 1.8 days before being sold, said Hoyt. Dealers consider the norm to be 60 days for a vehicle be on a lot before being sold.

Jack Fitzgerald, owner of an Anne Arundel dealership called Fitzgerald Automall, said with high gas prices, few things will deter customers from buying the Prius.

Toyota plans to fix engine problem in Prius hybrid
Japanese Import Car, New & Used Car, 2007