Toyota has acquired an additional 20,000 square metres of land around its parts centre in Le Pouzin, in the south of France, to support future growth in the country.

Located about 130 kilometres (85 miles) south of Lyon, the distribution centre - in operation since October 2001 - has improved customer service by facilitating faster delivery, and further enhancing parts availability, Toyota Motor Europe said in a statement.

Toyota has so far invested €10 million in the centre, which currently employs 52 people and its investment in France, where it directly and indirectly employs 7,000 people, now totals about € 835 million, including the Yaris and associated engine manufacturing plants in the north, a vehicle logistics hub at Valenciennes (€821 million), a European design centre (ED²) in Nice (€13.7 million) and a concept showroom, Le Rendez-Vous Toyota, in Paris (€4.6 million).

The southern centre supplies parts to Paris and the remainder of the country south of the capital, as well as to northeast Spain. The facility - located in the Parc Industriel Rhône Vallée in Le Pouzin - now has a total warehouse area of 7,500m², a land area of 70,000 m² and supplies about three million individual parts per year.

The centre is part of Toyota Logistics Services France (TLSFR), a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Marketing Europe, created to oversee the logistics activities of Toyota's operations in France.

Toyota sold 60, 647 units in France in the January to October period, up 7% from the previous year and plans to deliver over 73,000 vehicles in France this year.

Total European sales for the first 10 months of 2003 climbed 9% to 716,541 units, with 800,000 sales now forecast for 2003 - two years ahead of schedule.