Toyota’s decision to concentrate European Auris production in the UK instead of split with Turkey means that 28% of all the company’s spend on parts for its European factories is now in the UK.

And that figure could rise with Toyota “looking at” hybrid component production in the UK as well, according to Jon Williams, head of Toyota sales in the country, speaking to just-auto at the European launch of the C-segment Auris in Lisbon. The 1.8-litre petrol engines used in the hybrid are already built at Toyota’s factory on Deeside in the UK.

Around 15% of all Toyota sales in Europe are hybrid models; an additional 21 hybrid models are in the pipeline including a fuel cell hybrid due by the end of 2015, said Williams.

The new RAV4, Toyota’s popular soft-roader, is being unveiled at the Los Angeles show today (Wednesday 28 November) and is due on sale in Europe next February, he said, adding that, although there will not be a RAV4 hybrid, there will be a hybrid model built off that platform.

Around 40% of Auris sales in the UK will be hybrids; in the rest of Europe the hybrid variant accounts for around one-third of total sales.

The UK factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, builds the Auris, on sale in the UK from 3 December before being rolled out across Europe, and the D segment Avensis. The B segment Yaris is built at Valenciennes in northern France; petrol engines are built at Deeside and diesel engines in Poland. Turkey builds the Verso and will add the Corolla sedan from next year, aimed at southern European markets where sedan body styles remain more popular, said Nick Freeman, assistant general manager corporate planning and external affairs at Burnaston.

Burnaston produces a car every 66 seconds on a single line. Daily output is 766 on two shifts and, of those, 150 are Avensis and the rest Auris including 250 hybrids. Burnaston is geared up to produce 100,000 Auris models a year with 85% being exported.

Next year, the Auris sports tourer (an estate) will be added from mid-summer, boosting annual output by a further 50,000 units.

“We could produce 200,000 cars a year on a single line and two shifts by adding overtime to each shift which gives us an extra 10% output,” said Freeman.

It’s hardly surprising that, against this background, Toyota is keen to reinforce its ‘Built in Britain’ message and is doing so by giving more than 1,600 sales staff from its UK dealerships tours of the Burnaston plant.

"The sheer scale of the operation seems to be what impresses them most," said Freeman. The flexibility of the line also impresses. There are 120 base models with, for example, 85 different wing mirrors and the Auris and Avensis come down a single line in any combination of model, colour and trim.

“It gives the sales staff something to talk about when they are with customers,” Freeman added.