Toyota cars in Europe could also be affected by faulty accelerator pedals, which led the manufacturer to recall and suspend sales of eight best-selling models in the US.
The Japanese motor giant recalled the same eight models last week in a move covering 2.3 million vehicles, and a suspension of sales - so that dealers can fix pedals that could stick and cause acceleration without warning - has now been announced in the US.
Toyota has also called an indefinite halt to production at six assembly plants in North America, and although factories in Japan are not affected, it is feared the problem could affect millions more vehicles in Europe - where a similar accelerator part is used.
A spokesman for Toyota said the problem part comes from one US supplier and does not affect models that use parts from different suppliers.
Toyota shares fell in Tokyo following the announcement, and analysts predict that the production stoppage could signal a more serious crisis for Toyota than a routine recall notice.
Yasuaki Iwamoto, auto analyst with Okasan Securities in Tokyo, said: "It's an abnormal situation, and there is no way to compare it with anything else."
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