Northern Ireland Toyota owners could be waiting months to have their faulty cars fixed as the major operation to repair thousands of vehicles begins.
Around 6,000 vehicles with accelerator pedal problems were fixed at 200 service centres across the UK on Wednesday.
The regional breakdown of car owners affected by the glitch was not available from Toyota’s UK head office or the DVLI in Swansea.
But the province’s biggest Toyota dealership, Charles Hurst, said it is fixing at least 3,000 models in the Greater Belfast area alone.
As a result they, along with other dealers throughout the UK, are extending opening hours.
This week owners of the seven makes of cars affected throughout the UK began receiving letters for free repairs during the next two months.
Altogether, however, 180,865 cars have been recalled in the UK, raising concerns a backlog will grow.
Toyota — the world's largest car maker — has recalled 437,000 vehicles globally. Charles Hurst said it is aiming to repair at least 30 vehicles a day until the recall operation is clear. Each job takes, on average, between an hour and an hour and a half.
Charles Hurst added that it is “doing everything possible” so customers are not inconvenienced.
General manager Adrian Devitt said: “We started repairs on Wednesday and we would have done at least 20. It takes about one hour, an hour and a half for each procedure.
“We know there would be 3,000 cars to be done in the Belfast and Greater Belfast area.
He added: “The work can only be done by Toyota trained technicians who are prepared to do extra hours to make sure we will get through the recall as quickly as possible.
“We are extending our hours at the workshop to 7pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to facilitate.
“We understand customers want to get this done as quickly as possible. Ideally we are doing this while customers wait; if that doesn’t suit there will be courtesy cars. We will be doing everything in our powers to ensure the customers aren’t inconvenienced.”
Miguel Fonseca, managing director Toyota GB, said: “We are committed to accomplishing this safety recall as quickly as possible, it is our aim to do so within a matter of eight weeks, in spite of the large number of vehicles involved.
“This will include prioritisation of recall work, weekend working and extended opening hours.”
Recall information for UK cust-omers is available from Toyota at www.toyota.co.uk/recall