Toyota will invest around £50 million in its UK car manufacturing plant in Derbyshire boosting annual production capacity to 285,000 Avensis and Corolla vehicles.

The announcement follows continued record customer demand for models across Europe. Toyota European sales went up 22% in the first quarter of 2004, with Corolla sales up 20% and record new Avensis sales, up 157%, compared to the same period last year.

Originally, as announced last year, Toyota Manufacturing UK had intended to increase its capacity at Burnaston to 270,000. Now in response to increased demand, the company will accelerate and expand its equipment investment programme. As a result it will raise capacity from 220,000 to 285,000 vehicles a year while maintaining a two shift working pattern.

Recruitment started last year and it is estimated around 500 members are still to be identified. The continuing growth also means significant development and promotion opportunities at the plant for existing company employees.

The investment has been welcomed by the Government. The Prime Minister Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP said: "I warmly welcome Toyota’s decision to increase their investment at Burnaston, and the additional jobs that this will involve. This decision affirms Toyota’s commitment to manufacturing in the UK as a central location within Europe. This is good news, not just for the company but also for the UK automotive industry as it gears up for the challenges of developing new and cleaner vehicle technologies of which Toyota is at the forefront."

Bryan Jackson, Managing Director, Toyota Manufacturing UK, said: "This new investment is further endorsement of the commitment and dedication of our members to building superior quality cars and reflects the importance of the UK to Toyota’s growth in Europe.

"Toyota has had a terrific start to the year with European market share passing 5% for the first time and sales at record levels. This is a great opportunity for Toyota Manufacturing UK and its members."

Published : 30/05/04 Author : Melanie Carter

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