Toyota Australia on Friday (18 January) began exports of its new locally built, AR series, I4 engines to Thailand and Malaysia.

This is the first time Toyota Australia has sold engines alone to Thailand and Malaysia though it has previously shipped some overseas with Camry CKD assembly packs.

About 18,000 engines are expected to be exported in 2013 while another 90,000 engines will go into the locally built Camry and its hybrid variation for both domestic sale and export – including New Zealand and the LHD Middle East.

Toyota Australia’s manufacturing and purchasing chief, Chris Harrod, said it was a proud day for the company and all those involved.

“Our employees have worked incredibly hard to secure the investment for the new engine plant and ensure that we are producing the best quality engines,” Harrod said.

“The fact that we were able to secure new export markets in Thailand and Malaysia is testament to the quality of our work and the positive reputation Toyota Australia has amongst our affiliates.

“It also shows good cooperation and support from the Toyota group within the ASEAN region, which has allowed us to further expand our engagement and linkage to the Toyota global network.

“We are now one of only four countries to produce this particular engine and are the only Australian manufacturer to produce both petrol and hybrid engines.”

Harrod said both petrol and hybrid engines will be shipped to Thailand and Malaysia, with the first shipment expected to arrive in February 2013.

It comes after the new Altona (Melbourne) engine plant was officially opened by Toyota Australia president and CEO Max Yasuda, Australian prime minister Julia Gillard and Victorian premier Ted Baillieu last December.

About 108,000 engines will be produced this year, of which 85% will be petrol and the rest hybrid.

Full production of the new four cylinder AR series engine commenced earlier this week.