Page last updated at 21:13 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Toyota says no reports of brake problems on Prius in UK

Toyota Prius in car showroom
Toyota is currently beset with safety concerns

Toyota has insisted there have been no reported problems with the brakes on the latest version of its Prius car in the UK or other parts of Europe.

The comment came after the firm said it had "received complaints" about the braking performance of the vehicle in Japan and North America.

Toyota said it was investigating the matter, and it would be "premature" to comment further at this stage.

The matter is separate to a worldwide Toyota recall over accelerator pedals.

Maybe they were a little safety deaf
Ray LaHood, US Transportation Secretary

The Prius is not implicated in that recall over problems with accelerator pedals sticking.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received about 100 reports of faulty Prius brakes, with a further 14 reported in Japan.

Three drivers claimed brake problems resulted in crashes involving injuries.

Costly recall

The Japanese carmaker, the world's biggest, is facing growing criticism that it has not done enough to make sure its vehicles are safe.

The US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, told the Associated Press news agency that federal officials had had to alert Toyota to the seriousness of the accelerator safety issues that eventually led to the recalls.

He said: "They should have taken it seriously from the very beginning when we first started discussing it with them. Maybe they were a little safety deaf."

Toyota's current massive vehicle recall could cost it up to $2bn (£1.25bn) in lost output and sales.

The recall of millions of vehicles may force the company - which is the world's largest car maker - to cut its 2010 sales forecasts.

On Tuesday, Toyota's executive vice-president, Shinichi Sasaki, has said he is extremely worried about the sales forecast.

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