Toyota said major influences behind its decision to locate production of its new Auris hybrid model in the UK include support from the British government as well as a stable industrial relations environment.
The Japanese automaker started production of the hybrid at its plant at Burnaston, Derbyshire, in the UK’s Midlands region yesterday (28 June) and praised the political backing it received from the British government.
“They [UK government] helped us in terms of people training for the new technology and also with people development for environmental management,” Toyota Motor Europe president Didier Leroy told just-auto.
“The government supported training costs at the same level as they can support any other company. On the other hand, we bring this car to the plant – it is very good news for the UK economy.”
Leroy admitted a calm industrial relations environment was also key to TME’s decision to base Auris hybrid production in the UK, as well as the workforce’s core competence.
“Stable industrial relations is one of the key criteria when you consider this kind of big decision and location,” said the TME chief.
“Because the plant started in 1992, we have huge experience and highly capable people who know perfectly the Toyota system.”
Leroy declined to put a figure on any new jobs that might be created as a result of the hybrid’s production launch, but he did say the employment situation was now “stabilised” with an initial 14,000 units predicted for this year, rising to 30,000 in 2011.
The Toyota boss also insisted there would not be a major canabilisation effect on other models by the Auris hybrid “or very little at least.”