Hot on the heels of Honda's good news yesterday comes news from Toyota that UK production should rise by one-third.
Speaking to industry website, www.just-auto.com, Tony Walker, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, said that the company is now recovering from the economic crisis of 2008 that led to a drop of over 50% to Toyota's UK car output.
The factory near Derby will be the sole European manufacturing centre for the new Focus-sized hatchback due in 2013. This will replace the dire Auris (at least dire in non-hybrid form), and should lead to a big jump in production. Last year the factory made 128,000 cars, but the capacity of the factory is 170,000 cars running on two shifts per day. Given that the new model can hardly fail to be a big improvement on the virtually worst-in-class Auris (OK it is better than a Fiat Bravo, but that is about all), that hardly seems a terribly stretching target. If the new model proves a big success, there is no reason the factory could not go to three shifts to meet demand – as the Land Rover factory in Halewood is now doing.
Toyota says it is investing £100 million in the UK for the introduction of the Auris replacement model and it will create up to 1,500 additional British jobs over the next two years. Toyota is promising more exciting designs and says it has learned its lessons from over-cautious models of the past. The UK-produced Auris replacement is a perfect opportunity for the company to practice what it is preaching. Certainly it is in all our interests that Toyota increases its sales of family hatchbacks.