Toyota is to build the third generation of its Auris family hatch at its UK plant.
The news that Auris production will remain at the Burnaston facility near Derby boosts the British automotive industry at a time of uncertainty, with manufacturers reconsidering their investment in the UK as Brexit negotiations continue.
However, Toyota Motor Europe announced only a year ago that it was to invest more than £240 million in its UK plant, upgrading the factory with new equipment, technologies and systems to enable manufacture of vehicles on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform.
The next Auris, which will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show on 6th March, will use the TNGA platform.
And in further good news for British manufacturing, most of the engines installed in the Auris will be built at Toyota’s plant in Deeside, north Wales.
Announcing the news on a visit to Burnaston, TME President and CEO Dr Johan van Zyl said that producing TNGA-based vehicles locally is a key part of Toyota’s plan to strengthen the global competitiveness of its plants. “Today’s announcement that we will manufacture the new Auris at Burnaston, with most engines to be supplied from Deeside, shows our confidence in the skills and capabilities of our TMUK members,” he added.
However Dr van Zyl also made a plea to the politicians negotiating the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with Europe. “As a company, we are doing what we can to secure the competitiveness of our UK operations as a leading manufacturing centre for our European business.
“With around 85% of our UK vehicle production exported to European markets, continued free and frictionless trade between the UK and Europe will be vital for future success.”
Industry sources suggest the next Auris will go on sale late in 2018, in hybrid form. Rumours continue to circulate suggesting that the petrol-engined version to be launched later will revert to the Corolla name, replaced by the Auris in 2010, in a bid to boost sales of the model.