Factory to build cars on latest Toyota global platform in big boost to UK automotive industry.
Toyota has confirmed the future of its Burnaston, UK manufacturing facility with a huge $308 million investment that will introduce the firm’s high-tech Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) car platform. The factory, which currently makes the Auris and Avensis, employs 3,400 people in Derbyshire, so the announcement is a very significant one for the UK automotive industry.
The factory’s future had been questioned by some in the light of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union in the so-called Brexit vote. In 2016, Burnaston produced 180,000 cars, most of which were exported to Europe. Some are concerned about the threat of tariffs if the UK is not able to agree a suitable post-Brexit deal.
Indeed, in making the announcement, Toyota Motor Europe president and CEO Dr Johan van Zyl said that “continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success”.
Prior to confirming the future of its Sunderland facility, Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn met PM Theresa May and is believed to have received assurances that the automotive industry would not be impacted by a threat of tariffs. It is not clear if Toyota has received similar assurances.
Toyota has, however, received up to $23.3 million in support from the UK government, which will go into training, research and development, and further improving the plant’s environmental credentials.
“Our investment demonstrates that, as a company, we are doing all we can to raise the competitiveness of our Burnaston plant in Derbyshire,” said van Zyl. “The upgrade of TMUK is a sign of our confidence in our employees and suppliers and their focus on superior quality and greater efficiency.”
By 2020, Toyota wants most of its global cars to be built on the TNGA platform. It’s already used by the latest Prius and C-HR and its introduction in Burnaston indicates the new Auris will switch to TNGA. Despite declines in the European large family car sector, Toyota seems determined to continue with a replacement for the Avensis too, which is likely to gain an all-turbo engine range to take on the Ford Mondeo and Opel Insignia Grand Sport.
Source: Toyota Europe