Japanese automaker Toyota has launched a global recall of its redesigned Toyota Prius sedan after reports of a potentially deadly defect involving the parking brake.
The company is recalling 340,000 units of the Prius globally, including 212,000 in Japan and 92,000 units of the 2016 and 2017 models in the U.S.
"On the involved vehicles, there is a possibility that the parking brake could become inoperative," Toyota said Wednesday in a statement. "If this occurs and the driver exits the vehicle with the transmission in a gear other than ‘Park’ while the ignition is on, the vehicle could roll away, increasing the risk of a crash."
Toyota has "received reports of crashes, injuries and deaths" and is "still looking into the reports," the Associated Press reported.
Toyota spokesman Victor Vanov declined to provide specifics. "Alleged crashes, injuries and fatalities are reported in many ways to many different organizations," he told USA TODAY in an email.
The company said in a statement that dealers "will add clips on the top of the brake cable dust boots to prevent the cable from becoming inoperative."
Owners will be notified in November, and repairs will be free.