• Kyodo

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Toyota Motor Corp. has informed its dealers in the United States that it will begin repairing the brakes of the Prius hybrid next week, industry sources said Saturday.

The automaker plans to fix the problems the car has by improving the software used in the braking system, a senior official of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. said in an e-mail message sent to dealers Friday night, they said.

As to whether the move is being taken under a mandatory recall or a program of voluntary repairs, Toyota has not yet decided as it needs to consult with and obtain approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the sources said.

The U.S. safety regulator said Thursday it has launched a formal investigation into allegations that the latest model of the Prius hybrid suffers from momentary brake failure when traveling over uneven surfaces, potholes or bumps in the road.

The NHTSA had received more than 100 complaints from Prius owners over these problems by Tuesday, according to the sources.

Toyota knew of the problems and has taken steps to remedy them for cars produced since late January. But it did not bring the issue into the open and so measures have yet to be taken for vehicles already on the road. Since last June, about 103,500 units of the latest model of the Prius had been sold in the United States by the end of January.

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