Fleet News

Toyota aims for 200,000 UK cars by the year 2000

TOYOTA is to increase UK car production to 200,000 units by the end of the decade, but it has denied national newspaper speculation that a third model could be built at the company's Burnaston site.

Toyota plans to sell a record 450,000 vehicles in Europe this year rising to 600,000 by the beginning of the next century and plans to dramatically increase UK fleet sales. The company currently builds the Carina E at Burnaston - 117,000 were produced last year, a 30% increase on 1995 - and during the third quarter of 1998 production of the new Corolla, due to go on sale in the UK later this year, will be transferred from Japan to Derbyshire.

This week Alan Marsh, vice chairman of Toyota Motor Europe, said the company was aiming for 60% of cars sold worldwide to be built outside Japan. Some national newspapers automatically assumed that would mean 60% of European sales would be manufactured in Burnaston. Therefore, they calculated a third Toyota model was destined to be built at Burnaston. But, a Toyota spokeswoman said: 'Toyota is not considering building a third model at Burnaston at the moment.'

TOYOTA'S upbeat message to the UK and European car industry came just days after Nissan announced it was creating 800 new jobs at its Sunderland plant and thousands more in the component supply industry following its decision to build the Almera replacement in the north east in addition to the Micra and Primera.

In addition, Honda, which has built the Accord four door at Swindon since October 1992 and the Civic five door since October 1994 is to produce a third model at the plant from next year. While the company has not confirmed the identity of the car it is understood it could be an estate version of the Civic.

Meanwhile, BMW is continuing to invest heavily in Rover, and Vauxhall recently announced a £300 million investment at its Ellesmere Port Astra car and light van plant with a resulting 15,000 increase in production to 160,000 units. There is also continued speculation that Peugeot may build a second model - perhaps a 206 - alongside the 306 at its Coventry plant. The investment announcements come as Ford continues to come under fire following its decision to axe 1,300 jobs at its Halewood plant and build the new Escort outside the UK.

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