Toyota on Monday is celebrating the start of production of its first full hybrid vehicle in Europe at its Derbyshire, England, plant.

Burnaston is building the Auris – the European Corolla hatchback – with Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) which has a full year European sales target of 30,000 vehicles. The car will be launched in 32 countries across Europe, while deliveries starting in July.

Toyota Motor Europe president Didier Leroy said: “The UK has proved to be a valuable business partner. Building on almost 20 years of manufacturing experience, TMUK’s team members continue to deliver the quality, efficiency and flexibility needed to meet the exacting standards of our customers in Europe. A new chapter is opening today as Britain, a traditional origin of industrial innovation, becomes home to the manufacture of the first full hybrid vehicle for Europe.”

Toyota Manufacturing UK managing director Katsunori Kojima said: “It is a proud day as we celebrate the official start of production of the [hybrid] Auris, yet another premium quality model to be built in Britain. To manufacture a world-class vehicle you need a world-class team and the commitment and dedication of our members has been crucial. As a model sustainable plant for Toyota in Europe we will truly be an eco plant with eco-minded people building eco cars.”

British government business, innovation and skills minister Vince Cable said: “Toyota’s decision to make Burnaston the only plant in the world to build the hybrid Auris is a strong endorsement of the UK as a manufacturing base for the next generation of cars. It is sending a signal to manufacturers that if you’re not in the UK, then you’re missing out on all the strengths and skills that the UK has to offer.”

The hybrid Auris is built on the same production line as petrol and diesel Auris models and the Avensis and its 1.8-litre petrol engine is made at a separate Toyota facility in Wales.

TMUK is one of nine Toyota manufacturing companies in Europe and vehicle production there passed 3m earlier this month.

Plant would welcome more hybrids