Toyota recalls 340,000 Prius hybrid cars for faulty brakes

File - In this July 6, 2010 file photo, Prius hybrid vehicles are displayed at Toyota Motor Corp.'s showroom in Tokyo. Toyota's Prius is becoming a little less quiet with a new electronic humming device that is the automaker's answer to complaints that pedestrians can't hear the top-selling car approaching. The 12,600 yen ($148) speaker system that goes under the hood of the third-generation Prius sets off a whirring sound designed to be about the same noise level as a regular car engine so that it isn't annoying, Toyota said Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

TOKYO (AP) – Toyota Motor Corp. recalled 340,000 gas-electric hybrid Prius cars around the world Wednesday, 212,000 of them in Japan and 94,000 in North America, for a defect in their parking brakes.

Toyota acknowledged receiving reports of crashes, injuries and deaths. The Japanese automaker refused to provide details, saying it was still looking into the reports.

Toyota said the parking brake cable can disengage unexpectedly, causing the brakes to stop working properly. So if the car is left in any gear other than park, it could start rolling away, and possibly crash.

Toyota said 17,000 Prius vehicles were recalled in Europe, and the rest in Australia and other regions. The problem models were manufactured from August 2015 through October 2016.

The company said all the vehicles were manufactured at its Tsutsumi plant in Toyota city, Japan, the company’s headquarters, one of a handful of plants around the world that make the Prius.

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