BELGIUM: Toyota France builds Yaris 1m

By just-auto.com editorial team | 12 December 2006

The millionth Yaris rolled off the assembly line at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) last night.

Since the start on 31 January, 2001, production at TMMF has increased steadily to capacity of 270,000 units per year and a workforce of 3,950, operating in three shifts.

Tadashi Arashima, President and CEO, Toyota Motor Europe, said: "TMMF is a key player for Toyota's manufacturing operations in Europe. Since its launch, TMMF has consistently met the very demanding Toyota standards in terms of quality, efficiency and flexibility, delivering a valued product that has been Toyota's biggest seller in Europe since 2000. This milestone shows the relevance of our strategy of building our core models in Europe."

According to Didier Leroy, TMMF President, this performance is based on "a localized, highly integrated manufacturing system. It has been made possible thanks to a dynamic social policy that focuses on open recruitment and a systematic training process. Our team members must possess the skills to deliver the expected quality, but most importantly we want them to share our key values of team work and continuous improvement."

Over 1.4m customers in Europe took delivery of first-generation Yaris cars between 1999 and 2005 - some were built in Japan.

Sales of the second-generation car introduced early in 2006 are expected to reach 250,000 units this year.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing France is in Valenciennes, northern France. The factory represents a total investment of EUR897m since establishment in October 1998. TMMF is a very compact factory, with a total building area of 140,000 m².

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) aims to exceed 1.2m unit sales in Europe in 2008. The sales growth will be supported by a manufacturing network of nine plants - located in France, United Kingdom, Portugal, Turkey, Poland, Czech Republic and soon Russia - to provide a European production capacity in excess of 850,000 units.

For 2006, Toyota has set the European target of exceeding 1m units in Toyota brand sales and 48,000 units in Lexus brand sales. Operating at record capacity, Toyota aims to produce around 800,000 cars, 860,000 engines and 575,000 transmissions in 2006.