Toyota recall affects company cars

Fleet providers are bracing themselves for a recall of some Toyota models amid concerns that almost 200,000 cars in the UK may have sticking brake pedals.

But providers claim that disruption to customers will be minimal, with drivers able to have their cars back on the road “the same day” in many cases.

James Lambert, head of PR at Lex Autolease, said his company was waiting for notification of the recall from Toyota before proceeding.

“We will get notification of the recall and then Toyota will decide whether or not to look at the vehicle,” he said, adding that any repairs would be carried out by a preferred supplier local to the customer, minimising the amount of time they would be without a car.

In the event of repairs taking longer than anticipated, Lex would provide a replacement vehicle, Lambert claimed.

He was unable to say precisely how many vehicles in Lex’s fleet were Toyotas, but admitted that the Prius, one of the models recalled, had been a “very popular” choice of car.

Csaba Ujuari, fleet services manager at ALD Automotive, said about 100 cars would be affected by the recall at his firm.

“Toyota have been very good in their communications and we have communicated everything to our customers,” he said.

“Any retrospective repairs which need to be done will be done as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for ING Car Lease, which as about 2,000 Toyotas out of a fleet of 50,000, said it was following advice from Toyota in deciding what best course of action to take.

John Lewis, chief executive of trade body the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), called for “perspective” when dealing with any possible recall.

“Toyota will have to recall around 190,000 cars in the UK, but to put this in perspective, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) statistics show an average of a million vans and cars are recalled in the UK each year. This figure is likely to increase as vehicles are becoming more complex and manufacturers are sharing parts among each other and across a range of models.”

However, Lewis also suggested there should be a quicker way of issuing recall notices other than the traditional paper-based version.

“At the moment, fleet operators are unable to initiate any recall actions until they receive these written notices, which can take up to four weeks. In the 21st century there should really be some form of electronic notification process that can take the place of this mass mail-out.

“For some time, the BVRLA has been working with vehicle manufacturers, VOSA and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to try and establish an online recall database that would reduce much of the time and cost involved with administering fleet recall notices. We hope that this recent high-profile problem, which has highlighted some of the shortcomings of the current recall system, will help give some added impetus to our cause.”

In a letter to customers dated 4 February, Mark Roden, general manager, Toyota and Lexus fleet services, stated: “We now have a fix [for the problem] and new parts have gone into production and we are taking all reasonable action to contact the owners or registered keepers of the vehicles affected and arrange rectification as quickly as possible.”

The Japanese car manufacturer later announced on 9 February that in the UK it will be recalling its hybrid Prius vehicle, having earlier recalled the Aygo, iQ, Yaris, Auris, Corolla, Verso and Avensis models across a range of years.