Toyota South Africa has high hopes for its new Corolla in the local market and is targeting a full 10% share of the passenger car sector and 20% of the small sedan market in 2003, writes Dave Cumming.

It has launched 11 variants of the car after investing $US120 million in plant upgrades which will allow it to meet the quality standards required for exports.

The new car will have a local content of 58% and the company envisages this will increase as new component suppliers come on stream.

The first exports of the car are scheduled for Australia early in 2003. In a reciprocal arrangement, Toyota Australia will manufacture Camry models for the South African market.

Under the South African Motor Industry Development Programme, the current phase of which has been extended to 2012, Toyota would gain export credits for the Australian shipments which it would offset against the imports of the Australian Camrys.

To date, 700,000 of the three million Corollas sold worldwide over its nine generations have been sold in South Africa.

Bert Wessels, chairman of Toyota South Africa, recently hinted that the South African plant, now 75% owned by Toyota Motor Corporation (Japan), would probably become a manufacturing centre for the next generation of Corollas destined for the European market, as well as certain Eastern markets.

This is in line with South Africa’s incorporation with Toyota’s global supply network philosophy.