Toyota is riding out the economic downturn in Europe by reforming the way it does business.
This has included the decision to concentrate production of all its Auris C segment models in the UK, rather than splitting assembly with its factory in Turkey.
Didier Leroy, head of Toyota Motor Europe, said: “This allows us to maximise efficiencies as the UK is where the majority of Auris suppliers are. Our Burnaston plant is also very productive and efficient and we get a lot of backing from the British government.”
Toyota, he added, has 70 tier one suppliers in the UK which now supply 25% of all components to the company’s European plants.
While Burnaston will be the sole producer of Auris and Avensis models for Europe, Toyota’s Valenciennes factory in France will continue to produce only the Yaris while, in a year, the Turkish plant will start assembling the Corolla saloon, mainly for eastern Europe.
Leroy said:” The market in Europe continues to be a challenge but we took these decisions two years ago so that we could maximise our strengths. While other companies worry about overcapacity, our main concern is whether we can make enough cars.”
The introduction of the Auris has seen 800 new temporary jobs at Burnaston – some 150 of which have already been made permanent – while production line speed has been increased to produce one car every 66 seconds, down from 89 seconds.
Leroy does not see any upturn in European car sales until at least 2014, however.
He added: “I think next year will be down by around 5% with increased sales in eastern Europe but markets in western Europe will be down. Despite this we are expecting our sales to increase.”