Toyota will do all it can to avoid job losses at its UK factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, as the global financial crisis puts the squeeze on car sales and workers may even be employed temporarily at the company’s other factories around Europe until demand for the Avenis and Auris models picks up.

Toyota Motor Europe president Tadashi Arashima said in Geneva today: “We are currently holding discussions with unions at Burnaston and at our engine plant in Deeside to see how we can best retain jobs and moving employees around our plants is a possibility.

“It is something we have already started in Europe with workers at our engine plant in Poland being deployed at our joint venture car factory in the Czech Republic.”

The Czech factory, a joint venture with PSA Peugeot Citroen, produces the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 small cars and is currently running at full capacity.

The Burnaston plant has already been reduced from two to one shift on one of its assembly lines while the second line has periodic closures on Fridays.

Arashima added: “We have already laid off all temporary workers and we are discussing with unions a number of possibilities including time-sharing, wage reductions and a freeze on bonuses.

“The union has actually put forward the idea of voluntary redundancies but this is something we hope we do not have to consider.”

The TME chief said he would not be looking to the UK government at this stage to provide financial aid to its British operations but said he would welcome some sort of stimulus package to kick-start sales.

“We have already seen this working well in Germany where sales have increased over the first two months of this year.”