The world’s leading car brand says it is discussing with safety authorities worldwide how to fix a software glitch that delays braking on the model in certain road conditions on the Prius.
It comes just days after Toyota president, Akio Toyoda, apologised for a separate series of recalls covering more than 8 million vehicles, saying the company was rushing to reach a decision on the Prius as it seeks to restore consumers’ confidence in the brand.
It has already pledged to halt deliveries of new cars in order to repair the defective accelerator pedals on certain models, which has resulted in a worldwide recall crisis.
The Japanese car marque estimates that 180,865 models could be affected in the UK, and a total of 8.1 million vehicles are being recalled worldwide. Due to the extent of the recall, repair work will not begin until next week at the earliest. Details of the efforts being made were made in full-page ads appearing in national newspapers and free sheets, where UK managing director Miguel Fonseca wrote an open letter to customers apologising to customers for and “concern caused” and clarifying the recall.
The world’s biggest car manufacturer estimates that the business will lose about $2bn (£1.23bn) in recall costs and lost sales, but says it still expects sales to increase to 7.18 million in the next financial year.
The move comes after the marque presented healthy sales results for the last quarter. It made net income 153 billion yen (£1.06bn) after a loss of 164 billion yen for the same period the year before.
Panicked calls to its dedicated hotline have jammed switchboards and placed pressure on its informational website.
The carmaker is now 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.
US authorities say they are looking at the possibility of fining Toyota and would “continue to hold Toyota’s feet to the fire”.
Earlier this week, Toyota used YouTube to deliver a message by Jim Lentz, president of Toyota’s US marketing, to reassure consumers over concerns surrounding the safety of its cars.
The move follows the launch of a pan-European recall campaign to ensure all customers knew how to get the pedal issue resolved.
The cars affected range from 2005 to 2010 models and include the Aygo, Iq, Yaris, Auris, Corolla, Verso, Avensis and Rav4 sub-brands. No Lexus models and no other Toyota models are affected.
Rival marques Honda, Peugeot and Citroen, have also had to recall thousands of models due to similar faults.