Toyota South Africa (Tsa) will export between 15,000 and 20,000 new model Corollas a year to Australia from 2003, Reuters reported, citing TSA executive chairman Bert Wessels. This would be the first time TSA has shipped complete cars outside the African sub-continent, Reuters added.

Toyota Australia used to manufacture Corollas at its own factory in Altona, South Australia, but has now switched to fully imported models, freeing up plant capacity for the Camry line it exports to New Zealand, Asia and the Far East.

According to Reuters, Toyota Motor Corporation, which owns 36 percent of TSA, also plans to manufacture a new “globally strategic model” in South Africa for export to a number of destinations, including Europe.

TSA told Reuters that it has earmarked about 1.1 billion rand ($US95.5 million) this year to upgrade and expand the group’s Prospecton plant near Durban to manufacture the new Australian-export Corolla, which will be launched this year.

TSA also said it was finalising projects, due to begin this year, to export components to Japan, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Turkey and Australia, Reuters added.

Toyota becomes the latest vehicle maker to take advantage of the South African motor industry development plan intended to encourage exports. The country’s Mercedes-Benz plant produces all right-hand drive C-class models and other exports include the Volkswagen Golf and BMW 3-series.