Toyota GB reckons the brake system problem that has prompted it to recall 43,600 Yaris and Yaris Verso models “will not affect cars in the UK unless the ice age returns next month”.

The company says the possible brake line fault only occurs in temperatures below minus 20 degrees Centigrade.

The recall is part of a worldwide campaign announced in Japan yesterday, affecting about 400,000 vehicles.

In the UK that means all Yaris hatchbacks (except the locally-developed T Sport) and Yaris Verso minivans – all built between October 2000 and early March 2002.

Both rear brake drum lines will be substituted for a differently routed type that has been used in production since March this year.

In an unusually frank statement, Toyota GB said the brake line fault became apparent in Finland where the Verso is widely used by the postal service.

An accumulation of ice from hard packed snow in the tyre well and around the rear brake drum assembly was found to cause the brake pipe to eventually leak fluid.

Although brake efficiency is lowered the brakes remain effective as the has a dual circuit brake system and a low fluid level warning light to warn the driver, Toyota added.

Although the fault is “unlikely” to affect UK cars, Toyota GB will recall them anyway, compensating owners for the hour spent in a dealership waiting room with £10’s worth of petrol, a car wash and vacuum and a “complimentary gift”.