Toyota has celebrated the 10th anniversary of the start of production at its Valenciennes car factory in Northern France.

The first Yaris rolled off the line at the plant on 31 January, 2001. Initially designed to produce 150,000 vehicles a year employing 2,000, these numbers have steadily grown over the first decade.

Production capacity has been increased to 270,000 vehicles per year, equivalent to one car every minute, and in 2007 it reached record production of 262,000 units.

It currently employs 3,268 workers, including 299 temporary staff. An additional 250 temporary staff are currently being recruited

Valenciennes is Toyota’s only manufacturing facility where production can be arranged into three shifts. This format was employed between May 2004 and April 2005 and between February 2006 and July 2010. 

The factory has seen total investment of EUR920m (US$1.2bn) and continues to assemble the second generation Yaris for all European markets – a redesigned line has been launched in Japan but isn’t due in Europe until the third quarter of 2011.

Preparations are currently under way for the production of a compact hybrid model in 2012.