Toyota is close to completing a GBP40m refurbishment of its car factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire which was opened almost 15 years ago.

Toyota's UK manufacturing operations have periodically come into question as being relatively expensive in a European context and the firm is said to want the UK to join the euro currency to reduce exchange rate uncertainty.

The head of the Japanese company's European manufacturing operations said that he expected the plant to be turning out new vehicles well into the future.

Tetsuo Agata added: "We are very happy with Burnaston and in the 15 years it has been in operation we have seen many UK people move into top positions within Toyota in Europe."

Agata said Toyota did not feel pressured into building more production facilities in cheaper European markets. "They may be cheaper today, but wage rates will rise more quickly in the future until they match those of western Europe.

"Toyota has made a commitment to the UK and, as with our operations all around the world, we will honour that commitment. It is the company's policy to build where it sells its vehicles - to pursue the market."

Burnaston currently produces 285,000 Auris hatchbacks, Corolla saloons and Avensis annually. The refurbishment work has centred on improvements to the welding, paint and production lines to improve efficiency and quality.

Toyota's manufacturing system is benchmarked by car makers globally and Agata added: "The UK factory is now almost as efficient as our plants in Japan."