In what comes as welcome news amongst the post-Brexit uncertainty, Japanese car giants, Toyota, have announced they are set to invest £240 million upgrading their UK car Plant. The plans show a commitment by the manufacturer to remaining in Britain once the country has departed from the EU.
The Investment is met by an injection of £21.3 million from the UK government, which has been vocal about its intentions to maintain the competitiveness of the British motoring industry following the Brexit vote.
The upgrading of the plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, is essential if it is to compete against Toyota’s other manufacturing hubs throughout the world, who compete against each other to secure contracts to build new models.
The UK site is responsible for the Auris hatchback and the Avensis saloon and turns out around 180,000 cars per year at Burnaston. Engines are also manufactured by Toyota at Deeside in Wales. A spokesman for the company said the extra investment would be used to overhaul training, research and development aspects of the plant. Extra efforts to improve the environmental performance will also be taken into consideration.
Around 75% of the vehicles produced at Burnaston are exported to the EU. The company is heavily dependent on the European single market for components that are used in its vehicles. Toyota has said they will use the investment to install new equipment at the plant, train its workforce and improve productivity at the site.
Toyota is currently attempting to attract more suppliers to the local area to help insulate it from the possible effects of tariffs on parts imported to the UK outside of the single market. The investment in the Burnaston plant will come as a welcome boost to the British car industry, and backs up statements made by Nissan pledging to make new vehicles in the UK despite uncertainty over the country’s future relationship with the EU.
Toyota’s European President Johan van Zyl said on Thursday, that the investment in Burnaston was a “sign of confidence in our employees and suppliers and their focus on superior quality and greater efficiency”. He added: “Our investment demonstrates that, as a company, we are doing all we can to raise the competitiveness of our Burnaston plant in Derbyshire. Continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success.”
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