The latest recall affects more than four million cars and lorries, but does not involve Toyota models made and sold in its home market of Japan.

The company has insisted the problem in the accelerator pedals is rare and is caused by condensation that can build up in the pedal assembly.

Production halt

The recall in the US, Toyota's biggest market, covers 2.3 million vehicles and involves the 2009-10 RAV4 crossover, the 2009-10 Corolla, the 2009-10 Matrix hatchback, the 2005-10 Avalon, the 2007-10 Camry, the 2010 Highlander crossover, the 2007-10 Tundra pickup and the 2008-10 Sequoia SUV.

US production and sales of the models affected has also been suspended until the fault can be fixed.

Production and sales of affected US models will be suspended until the fix [GALLO/GETTY]
The company announced on Friday that it was extending the recall to another 1.8 million cars sold in Europe.

The scale of the recall has badly dented Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability, as well as hitting its share price, wiping more than 15 per cent off Toyota stock last week.

Combined, the recalls would affect more than eight million vehicles worldwide, but do not involve Toyota models made and sold in Japan.

Toyota kicked off a media blitz on Sunday with full-page ads in 20 major US newspapers alerting consumers to the recall and "pause" in production. It did not give details of the planned fix.

Last week the company said it will halt production of the eight models covered
by the recall, starting on Monday, until they can be repaired, and has suspended their sales.

'Rare problem'

Toyota says the problem in the pedals is rare and is caused by condensation that builds up in the pedal assembly.

Several dealers have said the fix involves slipping a shim into an area where springs push the pedal back to its resting position after a driver has eased off the fuel.

The pedal recall is separate from a recall involving floor mats that can bend and push down accelerators.

The faulty pedals were made by CTS Corporation of Elkhart, Indiana, US.

Toyota said last week it has begun shipping new pedals systems to American dealers.