Toyota do Brasil will replace Toyota Japan as supplier of Corolla CKD kits to Venezuela soon after the new model enters production in a few months#; time at the plant in Indaiatuba, São Paulo state, writes Rogerio Louro Alves. Venezuelan CKD exports will begin at the end of the year.

Last year, Toyota Venezuela bought about 11,000 Corolla kits from Japan and Toyota do Brasil expects to ship at least the same number per year from 2003.

Toyota is investing $US300 million to enlarge the Indaiatuba plant for the new Corolla which has been making its debut around the world over the last six months or so.

Toyota opened the Brazilian plant in 1998 to produce the Corolla with a unique local specification.

Toyota built 13,000 Corollas in Brazil last year and wants to hike output to 50,000 units from 2003, helped by sales to other South American markets as well as Brazil and Venezuela. The car maker is also evaluating building a compact model in Brazil in the next few years.

Meanwhile, to support projects such as Toyota#;s, supplier TRW said it would invest $US25 million this year to produce new brake and steering system components in Brazil.