Toyota Europe's UK car manufacturing plant at Burnaston, near Derby, is supplying its Auris hatchback line to South Africa.

A Toyota GB spokesman confirmed the arrangement and noted that the local unit had helped host South African motoring journalists visiting the plant recently.

In turn, Toyota South Africa supplies most Hilux pickup trucks to the UK market, with one body style coming from Thailand, he noted.

Toyota SA is due to launch its own redesigned locally-produced Corolla sedan models shortly. Previous models have been exported to markets such as Australia, though Europe's supplies come from a plant in Turkey. The Auris replaced the Corolla hatchback in Europe, and is replacing a hatchback model called Runx in South Africa, but is still called 'Corolla' in some markets including Australia.

Local reports in South Africa said the European-designed and fully imported Auris would be sold in nine versions with a variety of engines: 1.4-, 1.6- and 1.8-litre petrol and Toyota SA's first mass-market two-litre diesel. Both manual and automated-manual transmissions would be available. That means Toyota SA is offering almost the full range of driveline options available here in the UK.

Competition in South Africa would include the locally-made VW Golf and Polo and other hatchbacks.

A Port Elizabeth-based newspaper on its website cited Toyota SA sales and marketing vice-president Andrew Kirby as being confident the Auris would achieve 1,000 sales a month for the rest of this year, and expected it to have little impact on the new Corolla sedan, due for launch in mid-September.

As well as supplying Europe with both Auris and Avensis, Toyota's UK plant also ships some of its Avensis models to Japan.