Toyota woes deepen amid Prius recall reports

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Toyota's troubles looked to have worsened today after reports that it was preparing to recall 270,000 of its Prius models in the US and Japan over a braking problem.

The car maker is already recalling 180,000 other vehicles in the UK and millions more globally because of faulty accelerator pedals, and now faces a US government probe into the safety of the flagship hybrid model.



Japan's top business newspaper, Nihon Keizai, said Toyota would be notifying Japan's transport ministry and the US Department of Transportation of the recall. A spokesman for the firm said it had not yet decided about the move.



US transport officials have received 124 reports from drivers about problems with the brakes, including four of crashes, prompting the congressional review.



There have been no reports of any such accidents in the UK and a spokesman for Toyota said there would be no Prius recall here.



In a new development today, Toyota said it was investigating possible brake problems with its Lexus hybrid. Spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said the probe into the Lexus HS250h model was being carried out as a safety precaution because it used the same brake system as the Prius.



She said Toyota had not received any complaints about the Lexus model.



The Prius issue comes after the firm started recalling for repair around the world seven models that could be affected by a faulty accelerator pedal.



In the UK, some 180,865 vehicles are being called back in, but concerned Toyota drivers will have to wait until next week before the defective accelerator pedals can be fixed.



New parts needed to rectify the problem are currently being shipped from Japan to dealers across the country.



But it will take days for them to arrive, with the first repairs expected to be made on February 10.



Toyota yesterday put a video message from UK commercial director Jon Williams on YouTube in a bid to reassure customers.



He said: "I drive a Toyota. My family and friends drive a Toyota.



"I wouldn't allow my loved ones to drive our cars if I didn't think they were safe."



Mr Williams added: "We are truly sorry for letting our customers down."



To speed up the repair process, Toyota have fast-tracked a request to find names and addresses of owners through the DVLA.



It is expected that the information will be available to allow the car firm to write to all affected customers by the end of the week.



A fault has caused the accelerator pedal to stick in seven models - the iQ, Aygo, Yaris, Auris, Corolla, Avensis and Verso.



The problem has been linked to 26 accidents in Europe although none has been recorded in the UK, a Toyota spokeswoman said.



Anyone with concerns about the accelerator pedal safety of their Toyota model should call the firm's UK helpline on 0800 138 8744.

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