Toyota and sister brand Lexus have joined the growing group of manufacturers pledging free breakdown assistance to owners who work for the NHS or emergency services. The two companies join firms including Vauxhall, Citroen and Peugeot in the move, promising “key workers” breakdown packages that mirror those offered to buyers of new vehicles.

Under the scheme, Toyota-owning workers will get “open-ended” roadside assistance during the coronavirus crisis, with cover provided by the AA. The cover, which is offered regardless of the age of the vehicle, includes assistance at home or at the roadside in the UK or any of 48 European countries. Owners can also get a free replacement car for up to 48 hours and vehicle recovery to any UK destination or recommended Toyota Centre.

For Lexus-owning key workers, meanwhile, there’s cover in the UK and Europe, as well as cover for the driver using their own car, or travelling as a passenger in any other car. There’s cover for a partner, too, provided they live at the same address as the Lexus owner, and onward travel, hotel accommodation and replacement vehicle, if required, are included.

The cover is available for commercial vehicles, as well as passenger cars, and is available regardless of whether motorists previously had Toyota or Lexus roadside assistance membership. The companies claim the decision has been made to provide “peace of mind and support” to those providing “essential services” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Car loaded on breakdown lorry ready for transport

Rob Giles, Toyota’s customer services director for Great Britain, said the company wanted to give essential workers the reassurance that help would be available if they come across problems.

“We want to help the health and social care workers who are supporting and caring for people in incredibly challenging circumstances, and also those whose excellent work is keeping the country safe and its essential services running,” he said. “We want to give all those key people who drive our vehicles the peace of mind that help is on hand to keep them on the move if they encounter any problems with their car or van.”

Manchester UK empty street in Northern Quarter during the coronavirus lockdown

It follows the AA’s decision to make breakdown recovery services available to all NHS staff during the crisis, as well as the offers from Peugeot and Vauxhall’s owner, the PSA Group. However, the Toyota and Lexus schemes cover other key workers.

The news also comes as the UK embarks on a third week of lockdown, with citizens’ movement limited unless they are going food shopping, going to “essential” work that cannot be done at home, heading to medical appointments or exercising. As of April 7, more than 7,000 people had died in the UK after being diagnosed with coronavirus.