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July 8, 2020

Toyota starts production of new Yaris in France

Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) has begun production of the new generation Toyota Yaris, at its manufacturing plant in Valenciennes.

By Sam Duke

Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) has begun production of the new generation Toyota Yaris, at its manufacturing plant in Valenciennes.

The fourth generation of Toyota's best-selling model in Europe is the first compact car built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-B platform.

TMMF has become the fourth plant in Europe to have introduced TNGA-based vehicle production after Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey (Toyota C-HR and Corolla Sedan), Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK in Burnaston (Corolla Hatchback and Touring Sports) and Toyota Motor Russia (Camry and RAV4).

Toyota says the investment further strengthens TME's strategy to localise production and maximise manufacturing capacity. Toyota's localisation strategy also encompasses production of main vehicle components: the new Yaris is equipped with the 1.5L TNGA engine which is made in Poland.

Additional investments and a second model

An additional investment of EUR300m, equivalent of half of TMMF's initial investment, has been made at Valenciennes to enable TNGA-based vehicle production. Toyota says all the shop floors have been modernised with new equipment and technologies for improved ergonomics and performance. Amongst these works, one of the major expansions took place in the plastics shop with an additional surface of 3,500m to accommodate new injection and paint lines, which in turn allow for in-house production of new plastic parts. TMMF expects the number of its permanent employees to reach 3,600 by the end of 2020, out of a total employment of 4,800.

Toyota says it is aiming for 300,000 units of annual production in France when a new compact SUV, Yaris Cross, is added to production in mid-2021.

In 2019, Yaris accounted for more than 20% of Toyota's sales in Europe (224,368 units).

Toyota says the latest fourth generation Hybrid system offers longer EV driving capabilities, over 20% improvement in CO2 emission and fuel economy compared to the current generation.

The car is also 'designed to be the world's safest compact car equipped with segment-leading active and passive safety systems', the company says. These include Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a set of active safety technologies designed to help prevent or mitigate collisions across a wide range of traffic situations and the world's first centre airbag in the compact car segment.

Production in compliance with COVID-19 measures

After five weeks of controlled production suspension in line with the COVID-19 lockdown measures taken in France, TMMF resumed its operations on 22 April. The initial production volumes were kept significantly lower compared to normal operations in order to focus on securing the safety and health of employees and stakeholders by 'ensuring full compliance with the new hygiene and social distancing protocols and processes'.

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