Toyota returns UK-built cars to Japan
The Avensis is only built at Burnaston in Derbyshire and will now be sent to the far east to answer growing desires for European-developed cars.
The car has been exported to Japan before but not in its current third-generation form, and not for some years.
Only Tourer versions of the car will be exported at present, with 2-litre petrol engines and CVT transmissions. Production will begin in July at the rate of 750 vehicles per month.
According to Katsunori Kojima, Managing Director of Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, the news marks a proud day for Burnaston. “This is yet another vote of confidence for the factory and the high quality of our products,” he says.
The announcement has also been welcomed by UK Government Business Secretary Vince Cable, adding to an excellent month for UK car manufacturing following the news of major investments by Nissan and BMW.
“Toyota exports 85 per cent of the cars and engines it makes at its UK plants in Burnaston and Deeside – today’s news that it will now export its Avensis model to Japan is a tribute to the skills of the workforce, the efficiency of the plants and the quality of its products,” Cable says.
The Japanese market will join 47 countries that Burnaston already exports the Avensis to. The plant has built more than 1.8 million examples since the model was launched in 1997.
Burnaston also makes the Auris hatchback including the hybrid variant.
Words by: Andrew Charman