The new car will be based on the Toyota Corolla and will be fitted with engines built in Toyota’s Deeside factory, with electrical components coming from Japan.
No new jobs or investment will result from the new model, but production of it does bring job security to the 3,000-plus who already work at Toyota’s Burnaston plant in Derbyshire. Toyota has stated that it intended to make the production centre more efficient.
The news is also a welcome boost to the UK car industry following news that Honda was to close its factory in Swindon and that a new Nissan X-Trail would not be built at the company’s Sunderland plant as previously announced.
Production of the new Suzuki hybrid forms part of a wide-ranging resource-sharing agreement announced between Toyota and Suzuki on 20th March. Hybrids based on the RAV4 and Corolla will be manufactured by Toyota in Europe for Suzuki, which in turn will provide Toyota with petrol engines for its compact vehicles that are sold across the continent.
Cooke, managing director of Toyota’s UK manufacturing division, describes the announcement as good news for the brand’s UK plants. “(It) demonstrates Toyota’s trust in the capability of our workforce to deliver the highest levels of superior quality products,” he says.
“Seeking to produce additional volume for other customers is one example of all the efforts we are making to keep our UK manufacturing operations as competitive as they can be,” Cooke adds.
Production of the Suzuki hybrid is scheduled to begin late in 2020.