Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Older Toyotas will be fixed first following recall

Toyota's Scott Brownlee shows the pedal problem

Older cars will be given priority when Toyota UK starts repairs on vehicles recalled owing to accelerator pedal concerns.

The company said it would be nearly a week before it could start repairs on cars and even then the repairs would be staggered.

More than 180,000 cars in Britain have been affected and will need to be taken to dealers to be fixed.

The Japanese giant is recalling millions of cars around the world.

The issue surrounds an accelerator pedal problem affecting seven of its models. The older cars will be given priority as the problem is the result of the pedal becoming worn.

Vehicles which have suffered the stuck accelerator will also be at the start of the queue.

Affected owners will receive two letters - one telling them that the recall involves their vehicle and a second outlining when to take the vehicle to a dealer.

Alternatively, motorists can check whether their car is affected on a recall website or by calling a Toyota helpline.

The company has also said it is investigating separate reports in Japan and the US of faulty brakes on its Prius hybrid car.

Bumper profits

Meanwhile, the company's financial results for the three months to December 2009 have just been released and show a huge swing back into profit.

It made net income 153 billion yen ($1.68bn, £1.06bn) after a loss of 164 billion yen for the same period the year before.

The company confirmed its estimate that it would lose about $2bn (£1.23bn) in recall costs and lost sales, but said it still expected sales to increase to 7.18 million in the next financial year.

It added it had not yet worked out the cost of the latest reports of problems with the new Prius.

Contacting owners

Graphic explaining pedal problem
1. Inside the defective pedals, excessive friction on contact points can cause them to stick - leaving the accelerator in a partially open position
2. To fix the problem, a steel reinforcement bar is being inserted in a gap in the mechanism
3. This will serve to reduce the play in the angle of the unit and therefore reduce the friction on the contact points
Source: Toyota

Toyota is the world's biggest car maker, with around 1.6 million of its cars on UK roads.

It says it is writing to 180,865 UK drivers warning them to arrange repairs after a potential problem with sticking or jamming accelerator pedals was identified.

February 2005 - August 2009 AYGO
November 2008 - November 2009 iQ
November 2005 - September 2009 Yaris
October 2006 - 5 January 2010 Auris
October 2006 - December 2009 Corolla
February 2009 - 5 Jan 2010 Verso
November 2008 - December 2009 Avensis

The models affected are the IQ, Aygo, Yaris, Auris, Corolla, Avensis and Verso.

The parts needed to repair the cars will not arrive in the UK until next week, with the first repairs scheduled for 10 February.

Toyota says the process - which should only be carried out by its dealers - takes around half an hour.

A spokesman for Toyota told the BBC no new cars are affected, and dealerships are still taking orders on all models.

The company has also confirmed that there have been dozens of complaints in the US and Japan over brake problems in the Prius hybrid car, but none has been reported in the UK.

The Prius had been unaffected by the sticking accelerator pedal problem.

Safety issue

Toyota is recalling up to 1.8 million cars across Europe over the problem with accelerator pedals. These are on top of the millions of vehicles it is recalling in the US and Japan.

The company said it was not aware of any accidents resulting from the issue and that only 26 incidents involving accelerator pedals had been reported in Europe.

Toyota's UK spokesman Scott Brownlee denied that the firm had delayed the accelerator pedal recall in the UK.

He told the BBC that although concerns were raised about vehicles in late 2008, they were a quality rather than a safety issue.

Toyota said that anyone in the UK who had suffered a problem with their accelerator pedal should call the company's hotline, and should not get the problem fixed independently.

The carmaker is also working with the UK's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, and will write to car owners whose vehicles could be affected - a process that could take 10 days. This will also include owners who have bought the cars second-hand.

The DVLA said that it would have returned the information required to Toyota in two days, by the end of 5 February.

Toyota said it was considering longer working hours and weekend working to get letters delivered to owners. This letter will inform the owner that their car is involved in the recall.

It will be followed by a second letter telling drivers when they can take their vehicle to be fixed. This will be staggered, and the oldest cars will be given priority.

A website that would allow owners to check their vehicles registration number was also being developed.

US authorities said they were looking at the possibility of fining Toyota.

American Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said safety officials would "continue to hold Toyota's feet to the fire".

He repeated that his agency was studying the possibility of civil penalties against Toyota for safety violations, which could mean fines of millions of dollars for the company.

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Telegraph Prius recall reports add to Toyota's woes - 41 mins ago
Sky News Toyota 'Recalls Prius Over Brakes' - 2 hrs ago
The Independent Toyota woes deepen amid Prius recall reports - 2 hrs ago
ITN Toyota repairs delayed - 3 hrs ago

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