THE BRITISH-BUILT TOYOTAS
Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd has built eight different models at its Burnaston factory since the first car, a Carina E, rolled off the line in 1992.
This spacious saloon was the first car to be built by Toyota in Europe– adding significance to the “E” in its name. The first versions to appear were petrol-powered saloons and hatchbacks, with diesels and an estate version appearing later.
The top of the range 130bhp twin-cam, available in GTI and Executive form was a genuine sporting saloon, with a 125mph maximum speed. The Carina E established itself as a strong and capable contender against the Ford Sierra and Vauxhall Cavalier – its two contemporary rivals – and production continued through to 1997 when it was replaced by the first generation Avensis. Carina E is a textbook example of the long-lasting quality of Toyotas, with around 17,000 out of the 125,000 sold still running on Britain’s roads.
Avensis – first generation
TMUK accelerated production with the introduction of the original Avensis, which was built exclusively in the UK. Capacity at the Burnaston factory was 130,000 cars a year, with all three versions – saloon, liftback and estate – offered from day one.
Signalling Toyota’s intention to sell even more cars in what was then the largest part of the new car market, the public could choose from 31 different combinations of engine and body style. The lean burn 1.6 and 1.8-litre 16-valve petrol engines were supplied by TMUK’s Deeside factory. The first generation model endured until 2003.
Corolla – eighth and ninth generations
Corolla is the world’s best-selling model, a nameplate that has been carried by more than 39 million cars since the original was introduced in 1966. Britain has built just a few thousand of that huge total, all of them five-door hatchbacks.
Production of the eighth generation brought Corolla manufacturing to Europe for the first time in 1998. This continued with the launch of the ninth generation in 2001, a year in which TMUK celebrated building its one millionth car.
Avensis – second generation
Like its predecessor, the second generation Avensis was built exclusively at Burnaston. Such was its quality,Toyota also deemed it worthy of being exported to its “home” market in Japan.
Production ran for seven years from 2002, during which time it served as a flag-bearer for Toyota’s big advances in engine performance and in safety, where it set a new record score in independent Euro NCAP crash testing.
Auris – first generation
In late 2006 Corolla production at TMUK made way for Auris,Toyota’s new challenger in the family/compact car market. Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, had the honour of seeing the first car off the line.
In 2010 TMUK began production of the full hybrid version of Auris at Burnaston, with 1.8-litre engine manufactured at Deeside. It was the first full production hybrid to be built in Europe by any manufacturer. Teams from TMUK worked closely with colleagues in Japan to ensure that systems, training and quality control for hybrid were all in place ready for the start of manufacturing.
Avensis – third generation
The current, third generation Avensis has seen quality taken to new heights at Burnaston. Benefiting from sharper styling and a range of cleaner and more efficient Toyota Optimal Drive engines, it has proved a reliable performer on the road and a winner on the track. After two years competing in the British Touring Car Championship, Burnaston’s flagship model took its maiden victory at Brands Hatch in the final race of the 2012 season.
Auris – second generation
Toyota announced in 2011 that TMUK would be the sole European production centre for the second generation Auris, building both hatchback and Touring Sports estate versions of the car – including hybrids. The decision was backed by a £100 million investment in Burnaston.
Alongside Avensis, new Auris puts TMUK at the heart of Toyota’s product strategy for Europe and reaffirms Toyota’s commitment to manufacturing in Britain.