A special ceremony was held on Friday, 14 February at Burnaston, Toyota’s plant in Derbyshire to celebrate the production of the first all new Avensis.
Local politicians, MEPs and invited representatives from Toyota companies across the world joined workers to witness the line-off of the first mass production Avensis – Toyota’s new flagship model for the European market – which sets new standards in automotive quality.
The new Avensis, designed and developed in Europe, will be exclusively built in the UK. Toyota plans to sell 130,000 new Avensis models across Europe in the coming year. This represents not only significant exports for the UK but also demonstrates Toyota’s commitment to building cars in Europe for European customers.
As Europe’s fastest growing volume car manufacturer, in 2002 more than 50 per cent of the 755,633 Toyota vehicles sold throughout Europe were built in Europe.
The new Avensis will be on sale in the UK from 1 March and introduced across Europe in the coming months. Toyota’s Burnaston plant will produce three versions of the new Avensis – saloon, Tourer and hatchback.
An extra 300 employees have been recruited by Toyota Manufacturing UK throughout 2002 in preparation for launch of the new model and to meet existing European demand for the award-winning Corolla.
The new Avensis will be launched in the UK with a choice of two petrol and one diesel engine, all of which will comply with the forthcoming EURO IV emissions standards (2005).
The new Toyota Avensis with D-CAT (Diesel Clean Advanced Technologies) technology will be available in Europe in the second half of the year. This demonstrates Toyota’s continued commitment to the environment.
Speaking before the ceremony, where the first new model will be driven off the production line, Alan Jones, Managing Director at Toyota Manufacturing UK said: "This ceremony marks the end of many months of dedicated preparation by every Member and the beginning of mass production of this new superior quality vehicle.
"The new generation Avensis is an important car not only for Toyota Manufacturing UK but also for Toyota throughout Europe. We will ensure that we build in superior quality to this exceptional vehicle to delight all our customers."
Having recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary of production in the UK, Toyota Manufacturing UK will continue to play a crucial role in supporting Toyota’s European expansion producing two of its three core European models – Avensis and Corolla.
Toyota has invested £1.7 billion into its UK operations and since start of production in 1992 has produced over 1.3 million vehicles in the UK – including over 550,000 Avensis models and over 350,000 Corollas.
The Deeside Engine Plant has produced over 1.1 million engines in the past decade and has recently experienced rapid growth. In 2002 production volume significantly increased, supported mainly through machining parts for Toyota plants across the world including Venezuela and South Africa, and the plant recruited over 100 additional new employees.
The new model replaces the original Avensis, which was launched in Europe in 1997 as a replacement for the Carina E – the first Toyota model ever to be built in Europe.
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