Toyota is to produce a smaller hybrid than the Prius, and it will be made in the UK.
The Auris will be a full hybrid, but based on the existing C-segment hatchback. Production of Toyota’s first European-built full hybrid will kick-off at Toyota’s factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire in mid-2010. Engines will be produced at Deeside, North Wales.
The announcement coincided with a site visit by UK First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills Rt. Hon. Lord Mandelson.
“With today’s announcement, Toyota has taken a significant step forward in ensuring that full hybrids become more accessible to a wider range of customers. Such efforts are crucial if we are to see more low-carbon vehicles on European roads”, said Tadashi Arashima, CEO and President, Toyota Motor Europe (TME).
“Our decision to produce a full hybrid in the UK reflects both our confidence in the quality and commitment of the workforce and the strength of our long-standing partnership with the UK Government. Today’s announcement is positive for Toyota, our UK suppliers and the local communities here” he added.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: “This is a welcome and forward-looking investment in Britain from a world class manufacturer. As part of our low carbon industrial strategy we set out to make Britain the best place in the world to develop low carbon vehicles. These commitments, backed by the formidable skills of the UK automotive workers enable companies like Toyota to invest with confidence in low carbon car production in the UK. It demonstrates that the UK’s car industry is already making the low carbon transition.”
The Toyota Auris came to the European market in spring 2007. Since then, it has sold over 370,000 vehicles. Under the new Toyota Optimal Drive technology, Auris now comes equipped with a 1.33-litre dual VVT-i engine and Toyota’s Start&Stop technology, reducing CO2 emissions by 17% (135 g/km) and improving fuel consumption by 19% (48.7 mpg combined cycle) compared to the previous 1.4-litre VVT-i unit.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd (TMUK) started production in 1992 as Toyota’s first manufacturing company in Europe and today employs around 4,100 workers. The plant has produced over 2.5 million vehicles to-date, including the Carina E, Corolla, Avensis and Auris, for sale in Europe and export overseas. TMUK represents a total investment of over £1.85 billion and is one of nine Toyota manufacturing companies in Greater Europe.