Toyota is one of Japan’s best-known businesses, but its status as a global manufacturer is witnessed by the fact its vehicle production in Europe has passed nine million units. Local production has flourished to the point where two out of every three Toyota vehicles sold in Europe is built here, too.
From Portugal in the west, to Russia in the east, there are six Toyota vehicle plants and three powertrain factories in Europe. In Britain Toyota Manufacturing UK has been producing cars at Burnaston in Derbyshire and engines at Deeside in North Wales since 1992. The Burnaston operation currently builds all versions of Auris and Avensis, and has the distinction of being Toyota’s first centre for hybrid vehicle production in Europe.
Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said: “We have a long tradition of building locally what we sell locally. Recently we have also expanded our exports outside Europe, based on the competitiveness of our European operations. We are committed to keeping production in Europe by bringing technology like hybrid and management innovations that enable us to keep our manufacturing plants globally competitive.”
Speaking at the recent Paris motor show, Leroy added that Toyota’s European operations are profitable as well, thanks to three consecutive years of growth in Europe and the prospective of a further rise in sales volume this year.
He said: “Looking ahead, we have every reason to remain optimistic. With the recent launch of the new generation Aygo and Yaris, we have the youngest offerings in the compact car market. We are confident they will reinforce our position in the city car and supermini segments and strengthen the foundations of our European manufacturing operations.
Toyota’s European designers have gained increasing autonomy from Japan in the development of new models that are tailored to suit European drivers’ tastes, including new Aygo, Yaris and the Toyota C-HR crossover concept revealed in Paris.
Europe is adopting a more significant role as global planning centre to define future generations of cars competing in the core A, B and C segments.
Manufacturing history and production centres
Toyota’s European manufacturing began in 1971 with the opening of the Toyota Caetano plant in Portugal, which initially built Corolla models. Forty-three years later, Toyota has manufacturing centres in seven European countries, the result of more than €8 billion investment.
- Toyota Caetano Portugal: started production in 1971 and currently produces the Dyna light commercial vehicle.
- Toyota Manufacturing UK: opened in 1992, TMUK today builds the Avensis saloon and tourer and Auris hatchback and Touring Sports, including hybrid models. It also produces 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol engines and assembles hybrid engines at Deeside.
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey: established in 1994, TMMUK currently builds Verso and Corolla models.
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing France: based in Valenciennes in northern France, TMMF is the centre for Yaris production in Europe, including the hybrid.
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland: Toyota produces the 1.0-litre petrol engine for Aygo and Yaris at TMMP, together with manual transmissions used in Auris, Avensis, Verso, Corolla and Aygo. The plant opened in 2002.
- Toyota Motor Industries Poland: TMIP is home to production of 2.0 and 2.2-litre diesel engines for Avensis, Auris and RAV4 and the 1.4-litre D-4D unit featured in Yaris, Auris and Corolla. The factory has been in operation since 2005.
- Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile Czech: this joint venture with PSA Peugeot Citroën was set up in Kolin in the Czech Republic in 2005 to build Aygo, alongside the Citroën C1 and Peugeot 108.
- Toyota Motor Russia: Toyota’s newest European production centre began operations in St Petersburg in 2007, manufacturing Camry saloons. This year it is set to add stamping and plastics production to its business and it is preparing to manufacture RAV4 from 2016.
Toyota European facts and figures
- Toyota and its affiliates currently directly employ around 20,000 people in Europe, a figure that increases to around 94,000 when the retail network is included.
- Toyota’s investment to-date in Europe is more than €8 billion (about £640 million).
- Toyota has a network of about 400 suppliers in Europe, sourcing parts from more than 600 manufacturing sites in the region, further contributing to the European economy.
- Today around 20 per cent of Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in Europe are hybrids and most of them are built in Europe. Year-to-date, European hybrid sales have already surpassed 131,000.