Toyota in France is to boost output of its Yaris small hatchback. The company will start three-shift operations in June and said that it expects to increase its 2014 production plan by 15% to 220,000 units.
Toyota also said that it would recruit 500 extra staff in France to enable the third shift, bringing total employment to 4,000.
Toyota says it is raising output due to increased demand for its two French-made products, the Toyota Yaris and the Toyota Yaris Hybrid.
Until the third shift is in place, some Saturday production is planned to meet demand.
"Sales forecasts have led us to increase production plans by around 15% for 2014, for a total production volume of around 220,000 units," said Koreatsu Aoki, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF).
The additional manpower will be recruited as temporary staff. Employees from the two day shifts will also move to staff up the third night shift on a voluntary basis.
"TMMF will produce close to 1100 Yaris per day on three shifts versus 840 on two shifts today," said Luciano Biondo, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing. "This new organisation demonstrates the success of the "Made-in-France" Yaris on a very competitive segment."
"The new members will follow a 4-week training programme, which can turn into an official professional qualification," said Alain Van Vyve, Vice President of Administration. "This third shift is excellent news for jobs in the Valenciennes region of France, and will contribute to improve a local and regional economy that is still fragile," he added.
TMMF had operated on three shifts in the past, in 2004 and then from 2006 to 2010 and again in 2012. The plant's flexibility allows adjusting shift patterns to meet demand when required by the market.
Toyota's upbeat announcement in France comes as the two big indigenous French automotive manufacturing groups - Renault and PSA - wrestle with overcapacity issues.