Toyota to invest £240m in UK plant at Burnaston

Toyota to invest £240m in UK plant at Burnaston



Toyota is to invest £240m in upgrading its UK factory that makes the Auris and Avensis models.

The Japanese carmaker's funding in the Burnaston plant near Derby will allow production of cars using its new global manufacturing system.

The factory employs about 2,500 people, while another 590 work at Toyota's engine plant at Deeside, North Wales.

Burnaston made about 180,000 cars// last year, most of which are exported to Europe and other markets.

Johan van Zyl, chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe, said the investment exposed that the company was doing all it could to make Burnaston more competitive.

However, he warned: "Continued tariff-and-barrier free market entry between the UK and Europe that is foreseeable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success.

Industry commerce body the SMMT said in January that uncertainty around Brexit and the UK's future trading arrangements had hit investment in the car sector.

Investment obligations in the UK automotive sector last year totaled £1.66bn, down from £2.5bn in 2015.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said Toyota's investment marks the company's belief in its employees and will help ensure the plant is well situated for future Toyota models to be made in the UK.

The government is providing  £21.3m in funding for training, research, and growth, and improving the Burnaston plant's environmental performance.

Last year, adversary carmaker Nissan said it would build both the new Qashqai and the X-Trail SUV at its Sunderland plant following government "support and persuasions".

John Moylan, industry correspondent

The solution to upgrade the plant to take Toyota's New Global Architecture, its new system for manufacturing vehicles worldwide, suggests the company sees the UK as part of its long-term future.

But the UK's automotive production knows that Brexit is coming and with it the chance of tariffs and complex customs arrangements.

That threatens the competitiveness of carmakers that lean upon the kind of just-in-time manufacturing which Toyota pioneered.

Profit fall

The general secretary of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, said Toyota workers "need to know that the government has their back and will do whatever is imminent to ensure new models and new investment keeps coming to Britain".  

"With discussions set to start on the alternation/25 of models such as Vauxhall's Astra and decisions due on BMW's electric Mini, it is essential that ministers calm nerves by stating they will secure tariff-free access to the European single market and customs union in Brexit discussions."

In January, Toyota announced it was planning to spend $10bn (£8.2bn) in the USover the next five years.

The firm lost its crown as the world's biggest carmaker to Volkswagen last year.

Last month, Toyota said it wait to report net profits of 1.7 trillion yen ($15.1bn; £12.1bn) for the 2016-17 financial year. However, that was lower than the 2.1 trillion yen profit it recorded a year earlier.


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