Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMMUK) is to stop production at its Derbyshire car assembly and Deeside engine plants for a further week as European sales slow.

The Easter halt is on top of an earlier announced move that will see 750 jobs axed from next August though the automaker plans to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Conceding the massive recall programme currently under way in Europe was having an effect, a Toyota spokeswoman at the Derbyshire car plant told just-auto other factors had prompted the production stoppage.

“The recall is one of the issues that affect it but there are other specific market factors such as the ending of scrappage schemes,” she said. “We continue to monitor demand and we will continue to adjust accordingly.”

The original plan was for production to stop for four days from 29 March but a further week has now been added starting 5 April. “We are lumping those together [as] there was some reduction in our forecasts because of a sales slowdown in Europe,” the spokeswoman added.

But Toyota was at pains to point out it was not shutting down the plant but simply not making vehicles during that period.

For the first week, should shop floor members wish to come to work, they will be able to undertake what the spokeswoman described as “improvement activities and training activities.” Workers could also take holidays or unpaid leave during the period.

Management and unions are meeting to decide arrangement for the second week.

“The second week, we actually don’t know how we are handling that, so that is part of our employee discussions at the moment,” the spokeswoman said.

TMUK plans to move to single line production at its plant in Derby from August this year. The factory builds the Auris (the European version of the Corolla), the larger Avensis and plans to add the Auris hybrid soon.

After discussions with employee representatives this week, the plant management said the factory still has 750 surplus staff. Toyota will introduce a “voluntary release programme in the second half of 2010 for those who wish to pursue other opportunities”, although no details were yet available, Toyota said.

A Toyota statement said: “A decision has not yet been made on whether a further workshare arrangement [short time working] will be introduced beyond 31 March 2010.  Salary review discussions are still ongoing.

“The company and employee representatives will aim to complete their discussions on all terms and conditions at the final scheduled meeting in early March.”

Derby output dropped from 288,000 in 2007 to just 127,000 units last year.