Sarret said the recall, which affects about 10 per cent of all Peugeot Citroen cars, came after reporters called with questions about the partnership and after Toyota, which manages the 50-50 partnership at the Czech plant, told Peugeot Citroen of the problem.

The plant at Kolin produces about 330,000 cars each year - two-thirds of them for the French company, and the rest for Toyota.

The Peugeot 107 and the Citroen C1 are essentially the same car, with styling and fitting differences, as the Toyota Aygo, one of eight models the Japanese company has recalled. 

More than four million cars and lorries on three continents have been affected by the recall that was sparked by a sticky gas pedal caused by condensation that builds up during assembly.

Toyota, which overtook General Motors as the world's top-selling automaker in 2008, has been bedevilled by a series of safety issues that have raised questions about whether it sacrificed its legendary quality to become world number one.