According to Ed LaRocque, Toyota’s U.S. marketing manager for advanced technology vehicles, Toyota’s new family sized Prius will be hitting the U.S. market this fall after delays due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Prius V is being targeted to young families offering versatility and more interior room than most small sport utility vehicles on the market. The company sees the Prius V competing against vehicles such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and the Volkswagen Jetta wagon. Toyota will also be offering a plug in version of the current Prius model early next year followed by a smaller version, known as the Prius C. Toyota has dominated the gasoline electric hybrid market since the Prius went on sale in the U.S. in 2000. The company hopes that Prius sales will eventually rival the sales of Toyota’s popular models like the Camry and Corolla sedans.

In February 2009 over one hundred complaints had been made to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office in regards to 2010 Prius brakes that do not always function correctly. An internal NHTSA agency memo indicated that the issue was a “short delay” in regenerative braking when hitting a bump. Japan’s Ministry of Transportation ordered Toyota to investigate Prius braking problems after it received 14 complaints, and Toyota received 77 complaints in Japan. On February 9, 2010 Toyota announced a voluntary global recall of third generation 2010 Prius models. A total of 133,000 Prius vehicles in the U.S. and 52,000 in Europe received software updates to fix the problem.

NHTSA has received at least 10 reports of unintended acceleration on Prius models that Toyota claims to have already been fixed under its recall. The Associated Press reported on March 5, 2010 that additional complaints may be a psychological response of “mass hysteria” to “relentless media coverage” of the Toyota recalls.

Below are two accounts of runaway Prius’s that Toyota concluded the problem was driver related as they could not find anything wrong with the car.

On March 8,2010 the California Highway Patrol (CHP) received a 911 call from a man speeding down a California highway at 90 mph in his 2008 Toyota Prius. James Sikes, the driver of the vehicle claimed that his gas pedal was stuck and pressing the brakes would not slow down the car. The highway patrol officer at the scene says he could see the brake lights turn on and off periodically, and he could smell the heated brakes from a quarter mile away.

When the officer told Sikes to shift to neutral Sikes refused, later telling reporters he feared shifting to neutral would cause him to loose control of the car. Eventually, the car stopped on its own by applying the foot brake and parking brake at the same time.

Toyota’s investigators examined the car and found that the accelerator pedal was functioning normally with no mechanical binding or friction. However, the front brakes showed severe wear and damage from overheating. One of the most surprising Toyota findings was evidence of numerous, rapidly repeated on-and-off applications of both the accelerator and brake pedals. Sikes insisted he was pressing hard on the brakes to stop the car, so repeated application of the gas pedal does not seem to make sense, says Toyota. Toyota’s engineers also purposely overheated the brakes, but could still stop the vehicle.

On March 9, 2010 a similar story in New York involved a housekeeper who said that the 2005 Toyota Prius she was driving sped up on its own down a driveway and crashed into a stone wall. The driver of the car was not seriously hurt, but the car was totaled.

The NHTSA said the computer data from a Toyota Prius showed that at the time of the accident the throttle was open and the driver was not applying the brakes.

If you have received a recall notice for the brakes on your new 2010 Toyota Prius, you will be happy to know the fix is a quick one. As a matter of fact, you will probably have your car back in thirty minutes, and even though the problem is with the brakes, you will not need a mechanic to fix it. That’s because the problem is with a software glitch and the solution is as easy as fixing a security flaw in Microsoft windows.

Most modern cars are run on computers these days which eliminates the need for a mechanical connection. For many people, that’s not a comforting thought. We don’t like the thought of computers running our cars because software experiences glitches. Each year, cars get more complicated, some having over forty microprocessors in them. Although these microprocessors make it more difficult for you to work on your own car, some of them actually make your car easier to service.

“Cash for Clunkers” is finally came to a close and the figures are in. Almost 700,000 auto sales and car dealerships have submitted documents requesting $2.877 billion in rebates by the deadline. It was originally scheduled to run through November 1, 2009.

The Transportation department announced that the Ford Explorer was the most traded clunker and the Toyota Corolla was the most purchased vehicle. The following are lists of the top 10 purchased and traded in vehicles.

The Top 10 New Vehicles Purchased

1. Toyota Corolla
2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry
4. Ford Focus
5. Hyundai Elantra
6. Nissan Versa
7. Toyota Prius
8. Honda Accord
9. Honda Fit
10. Ford Escape FWD

Top 10 Traded Vehicles

1. Ford Explorer 4WD
2. Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
4. Ford Explorer 2WD
5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
6. Jeep Cherokee
7. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
8. Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
9. Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
10. Ford Windstar FWD Van

Think the vehicle you are driving may be a lemon? Call the California Lemon Law Attorneys at Delsack and Associates for a Free consultation. 888-Ex-Lemon (888-395-3666).

Honda’s remade Hybrid, the Insight, is not doing as well as originally predicted. It debuted in March and was thought to be a serious contender for Toyota’s Prius. Unfortunately the reviews have not been kind and sales have not gone well.

Many people are not aware that Honda was the first auto manufacturer to bring hybrids to the United States 10 years ago. Sources are not sure why Honda has not done as well and it seems other automakers are gaining ground such as Ford, General Motors, and Nissan.

Heard about the California Lemon Law and want to know if you are driving a lemon? ? Call the Law Offices of Delsack and Associates for a free consultation with a California Lemon Law Specialist. 888-Ex-Lemon (888-395-3666).

Hybrid cars today are typically a combination of gasoline and a battery powered engine. The following is a list of some of the current hybrid cars plus some that will become available in 2010 and 2011.

Currently available Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Insight, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Lexus HS 250h, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Lexus RX 450h, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h, Lexus GS 450h, Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, Lexus LS 600h L, GMC Sierra Hybrid, GMC Yukon Hybrid, Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, Chrysler Aspen Hybrid, and Dodge Durango Hybrid.

Those that will become available in 2010 or 2011 are Mercedes ML 450 Hybrid, Honda Global Subcompact Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Saturn Vue Green Line Two Mode, Hyundai Accent Hybrid, BMW X6 Hybrid, Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, Honda Fit Hybrid, Mercedes S400 BlueHybrid, Dodge Ram Hybrid, Honda CR-Z, Volkswagen and Touareg Hybrid.

If you think your hybrid is a lemon, call the California Lemon Law Firm, Delsack and Associates for a free consultation. The toll free number is 1-888-Ex-Lemon (1-888-395-3666).