Prime Minister Jospin Attends Official Opening of Valenciennes Plant
Toyota has announced it will increase the annual production capacity for the popular Yaris at its new French plant by 20% to 180,000 units at the beginning of 2003. This announcement was made at the official opening ceremony for Toyota Motor Manufacturing France S.A.S. (TMMF). The on-site event was attended by French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.
Established in October 1998, TMMF has been producing the Yaris compact in the north of France since 31 January of this year. The opening ceremony marked the plant’s official inauguration following the recent completion of its related facilities.
The 2003 increase to 180,000 units in annual production capacity was announced by Toyota Motor Corporation President, Fujio Cho, who said the decision was based on the encouraging sales performance of the Yaris in Europe and on “the fine efforts of TMMF team members, who have contributed greatly to getting TMMF off to a bright start”. The figure marks a 20% increase over the originally planned 150,000-unit capacity set to be reached in mid-2002, when TMMF starts producing 1.3-litre gasoline-powered Yaris vehicles in addition to the current 1.0-litre models. The added capacity could create about 400 market-dependent jobs at TMMF (TMMF presently employs about 1,600 people). As a step toward higher production, the plant is to switch from one shift to two this summer.
In order to respond flexibly to customer demand, TMMF also plans to assume assembly of Yaris petrol engines from mid-2002 and of 1.4-litre diesel engines for the Yaris at the beginning of 2003. Additional investment for the engine assembly process has been set at around 3 billion yen (about 29 million Euro).
Note to Editors: Toyota’s UK plants in Burnaston and Deeside will have a capacity to produce 200,000 cars (Corolla and Avensis) and 350,000 engines per year in 2002. Production began in 1992 and the plants currently employ 2,800 people.