The European vehicle makers’ trade association ACEA has finally decided, after years of disagreement from within its ranks, to allow Toyota to join.

ACEA has released a statement saying that its board has recommended accepting the application of Toyota Motor Europe (TME) to become a full member of ACEA.

The formal decision will be taken June 8 at the ACEA general assembly.

TME membership will start in January 2008.

“The ACEA members believe Toyota Motor Europe will make a valuable contribution to the work of our association”, said Sergio Marchionne, President of ACEA and CEO of Fiat.

“Europe needs a strong automobile industry. Gathering the main players in one industry body ensures effective communication with our key interlocutors in the EU on all issues of common interest, such as the environment, road safety, better regulation and improving the competitive strength of the European economy.”

The ACEA members and TME cooperate already in many areas, including manufacturing and maintaining a dialogue with EU governments and other stakeholders. They share the same challenges and concerns with regard to the EU policy framework, ACEA said.

The ACEA current members are BMW Group, DAF Trucks, DaimlerChrysler, FIAT, Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, Scania, Volkswagen and Volvo. TME is currently an observer in a number of ACEA working groups.