Sometimes, all it takes is a tiny bit of friction to cause two commas' worth of vehicles to be recalled.
Toyota plans to recall approximately 1.03 million vehicles worldwide, Reuters reports. According to the report, the recall was first announced in Japan, but Toyota said it would expand that recall to cover vehicles around the globe. Toyota confirmed the recall via email and pointed to a newly published press release explaining the recall further.
In the US, the recall will cover approximately 192,000 examples of the 2016-2018 Toyota Prius, but it's unclear for now if there are build dates or anything these vehicles have in common. In Japan, the recall affects both the Prius as well as the C-HR hybrid crossover, and Toyota told Reuters that Japan alone should comprise about half the total number of recalled vehicles.
According to Toyota's release, a piece of the wiring harness is to blame. A wiring harness that connects to the hybrid system's power control unit might come into contact with a covering at the point of connection. Any particulate accumulated on those parts could wear down the wiring's insulation as the vehicle vibrates, which will eventually wear down the insulation and expose bare wire. Bare wire has an increased risk of electrical shorts, which can generate heat and, in the right circumstances, cause a fire.
Toyota told Reuters that, so far, it has received one report in Japan where the vehicle began producing smoke. It's unclear if any injuries or additional fires have been linked to this issue in different markets, including Europe and Australia.
Toyota promises in its release that it will notify all affected owners starting later this month. The fix will be free. Once a recalled car reaches the dealership, technicians will inspect the wiring harness in question and, if any wires are exposed, it will replace the harness with an updated version that includes a protective sleeve. If no wires are exposed, Toyota will apply that protective covering to the current wiring harness.