Australian-made 1963 Tiara was first Toyota passenger car assembled outside Japan; Landcruiser assembly began in South America in late 50s

Australian-made 1963 Tiara was first Toyota passenger car assembled outside Japan; Landcruiser assembly began in South America in late '50s

Toyota Australia's factory is the latest car plant to be filmed for the National Geographic Channel's Megafactories series with the episode coinciding with the brand's 50th anniversary of assembly/manufacturing in Australia.

Contract assembly of the Tiara (predecessor to the long-running Corona) from CKD kits began at Australian Motor Industries (AMI) in 1963 and the cars were the first Toyota passenger models built outside Japan. They were assembled alongside other cars AMI made, including Standard-Triumph models, Rambler and (briefly) Mercedes.

AMI later assembled the Crown, Corona and Corolla and Toyota Motor Corporation purchased a 10% shareholding, taking a controlling interest in 1968 after the contract with British Leyland ended. AMI was renamed AMI Toyota in 1985 and TMC took full control in 1987.

Toyota vehicle production was transferred from AMI's Port Melbourne factory to a new A$420m facility at Altona, Victoria in 1994. In a reversal of roles, the now full manufacturing operation exports Camry CKD kits to assembly plants in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

It employs about 2,500 building around 100,000 cars a year - and their I4 petrol and hybrid engines - for domestic and export sales. First exports - of Corona wagons to New Zealand - began in 1986.

The Megafactories episode - the first of its type produced in Australia - traces the car-building process from the initial stamping of panels, using 40,000 tonnes of steel a year, through to final assembly where each car undergoes 237 processes involving about 13,000 parts and 1.7km of wiring.

It includes body welding by 280 robots and the casting of engines using 600kg of aluminium every 30 minutes.

Toyota Australia head of manufacturing and purchasing Chris Harrod, said the documentary explains how more than 3m Toyota cars have been built in Australia, including a million exports, mainly to neighbouring New Zealand and left hand drive to the Middle East.

"Australia was the first country in the western world where Toyota made an investment in manufacturing - a move that played a crucial role in it becoming the world's number one carmaker," he said.

"Building cars in Australia exposed the Japanese company to a vastly different culture and enabled it to learn many lessons that underpinned global success as it moved into the United States and Europe.

"Today, Toyota is the leading automotive company in the world and we have been the top-selling car company in Australia for the past decade.

"In addition, we are the only vehicle manufacturer in Australia building a hybrid car [Camry] and late last year we opened a new engine plant at Altona, one of only five of its kind in the world."

Harrod said Toyota was committed to building on its contribution to Australia by supporting local jobs and the economy, and providing vehicles that deliver what local motorists need.

The programme screens first in Australia at 7.30pm on 8 April on Foxtel's National Geographic Channel with repeats later in the month.

It comes at a time of intense focus on the future of the local motor industry. Rivals Ford and General Motors' Holden have not committed to local manufacture of their unique-to-Australia Falcon and Commodore models beyond about 2016 and, this week, new data detailed how much taxpayer funding Australia’s three remaining local car makers have received over the past 12 years.

Holden received about twice as much government funding (A$2.17bn) as Ford ($1.1bn) and Toyota ($1.2bn) over the same period, even though it does not build as many cars as market leading Toyota.

Ford's Falcon, once a sales chart leader, was outsold by the imported Mercedes C-class in March, reflecting how much the 'big Aussie' rear-drive models have fallen from favour in recent years.

Holden also builds the GM Korea Cruze but a recent proposal for Ford to make the Focus locally fell through and most smaller Ford models now come from Thailand with which Australia has a free trade agreement.

Toyota in Australia

  • Brand arrived in 1958 when some Land Cruisers were imported by Thiess Toyota for the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme
  • Cars and light commercials initially imported and distributed by separate companies - Thiess Toyota handled the LCVs
  • In 1963, local assembly began at Australian Motor Industries (AMI, later AMI-Toyota) at Port Melbourne
  • AMI briefly built Mercedes 220SE and 190D models and had long running contracts for other vehicles including the Triumph Herald and 2000/2500, Standard Vanguard and AMC/Rambler cars
  • In the 1970s, AMI-Toyota began investing in an engine and stamping plant to consolidate its position as a high local content vehicle manufacturer - the first Toyota engine plant built outside Japan. It was officially opened by prime minister Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  • AMI-Toyota merged with LCV distributor Thiess Toyota in 1989 to form Toyota Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA)
  • In 1994-95, Toyota consolidated local vehicle production at Altona in Melbourne
  • Exports, which today account for about 75% of local production, began in 1986 to New Zealand, followed by the Middle East [LHD] in 1996.
  • Seventh-generation Camry went on sale in late 2011 while second-generation Camry Hybrid and Aurion models were launched last year.
  • A $330 million redevelopment of the Altona engine plant has recently come on stream with production of four-cylinder petrol engines for the Camry and Camry Hybrid, as well as for export to other Toyota affiliates.
  • Production dates for Australian assembly/production: Tiara (1963-65), Corona (1965-87), Crown (1966-80), Corolla (1968-99), Camry (1987-present), GM Holden Apollo Camry derivative* (1989-96), Holden Nova Corolla derivative* (1989-96), Avalon (2000-05), Aurion (2006-present) and Camry Hybrid (2010-present)

*Under a short-lived scheme colloquially known as the 'Button Plan' after the federal government senator who proposed it, Australian manufacturers shared models in an attempt to reduce local assembly complexity and improve efficiency. Toyota built versions of its Corolla and Camry for Holden and GM built a variant of its Commodore - the Toyota Lexcen - in return. Ford and Nissan shared models, too - ed

Show the press release

 

                                 TOYOTA MEGAFACTORY: 50 YEARS OF BUILDING CARS IN AUSTRALIA

The National Geographic Channel is screening an informative new Megafactories episode this month to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Toyota car manufacturing in Australia.

The program provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the innovation, technology and passion that drives more than 2,500 Australians to produce in excess of 100,000 Toyota cars and four-cylinder petrol and hybrid engines a year for the domestic and export markets.

The latest Megafactories episode - the first of its type produced in Australia - traces the car-building process from the initial stamping of panels, using 40,000 tonnes of steel a year, through to final assembly where each car undergoes 237 processes involving close to 13,000 parts and 1.7km of wiring.

It includes striking vision of cars being welded by 280 robots that act like a synchronised mechanical army, the casting of engines using 600kg of aluminium every 30 minutes, and an array of other local design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities.

Toyota Australia executive director, manufacturing and purchasing Chris Harrod said the documentary explains how more than three million Toyota cars have been built successfully in Australia, including one million which have been exported.

"Australia was the first country in the western world where Toyota made an investment in manufacturing - a move that played a crucial role in Toyota becoming the world's number one carmaker," he said.

"Building cars in Australia exposed the Japanese company to a vastly different culture and enabled it to learn many lessons that underpinned global success as it moved into the United States and Europe.

"Today, Toyota is the leading automotive company in the world and we have been the top-selling car company in Australia for the past decade.

"In addition, we are the only vehicle manufacturer in Australia building a hybrid car and late last year we opened a new engine plant at Altona, one of only five of its kind in the world."

Mr Harrod said Toyota was committed to building on its contribution to Australia by supporting local jobs and the economy, and providing vehicles that deliver what Australian motorists need.

He said the Megafactories program highlighted the Aussie pride of the company's employees in making world-class cars.

"It provides an inside view of the Toyota world most people will never see first-hand - the innovation and technology behind our Altona 'megafactory'.

"What's clear is the passion and the commitment of everyone involved in producing Camry, Camry Hybrid, Aurion and four-cylinder engines for local and export customers," he said.

The first Australian-built Toyota, a Tiara, was produced in April 1963. Today, the local company operates seven plants on a 75-hectare site at Altona in Victoria that produce Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion sedans as well as four-cylinder petrol and hybrid engines.

The Toyota Australia Megafactories documentary was produced by WTFN, a Melbourne-based company which has built a worldwide reputation for its creative and compelling content.

The program premieres at 7.30pm April 8 on Foxtel's National Geographic Channel and will also be screened on April 9 (twice), 12, 14 and 15.

HISTORICAL FACT SHEET

In 1963, local production of Toyota cars was the responsibility of Australian Motor Industries (AMI, later AMI-Toyota) at its Port Melbourne plant.

Before gaining Toyota approval for local assembly of the Tiara, AMI built Mercedes 220SE and 190D models as well as other vehicles including the Triumph Herald, Standard Vanguard and Rambler cars.

In the 1970s, AMI-Toyota began investing in an engine and stamping plant to consolidate its position as a high local content vehicle manufacturer - the first Toyota engine plant built outside Japan. It was officially opened by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser in 1979.

AMI-Toyota merged with commercial-vehicle distributor Thiess Toyota in 1989 to form Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Ltd (TMCA).

In 1994-95, Toyota consolidated local vehicle production at its Altona plant in Melbourne.

Exports, which today account for about 75 per cent of local production, began in 1986 to New Zealand, followed by the Middle East in 1996.

New-generation versions of Toyota's locally built cars have been launched in the past 18 months.

Seventh-generation Camry went on sale in late 2011 while second-generation Camry Hybrid and Aurion models were launched last year.

A $330 million redevelopment of the Altona engine plant has recently come on stream with production of four-cylinder petrol engines for the Camry and Camry Hybrid, as well as for export to other Toyota affiliates.

Production dates for cars built by Toyota in Australia are: Tiara (1963-65), Corona (1965-87), Crown (1966-80), Corolla (1968-99), Camry (1987-present), Apollo (1989-96), Nova (1989-96), Avalon (2000-05), Aurion (2006-present) and Camry Hybrid (2010-present).

 

Original source: http://toyota.pressroom.com.au/press_release_detail.asp?clientID=2&prID=4973&navSectionID=2