Burnaston, Friday 18 July 2003 – Toyota today announced the first shipment of the all-new Toyota Avensis, built at its plant in Burnaston, UK, to Japan. Around 350 Toyota Avensis left the port of Southampton, UK, on 20 July, and are scheduled to arrive in the port of Tahara, Japan, about a month later on 21 August. This is the first time European built Toyota vehicles have been exported to Japan. The Toyota Avensis, already on European roads since last March, will go on sale in Japan this coming autumn.

"This Toyota Avensis was designed and developed for Europe, and it is a huge vote of confidence that it will compete in the very demanding Japanese market, where quality is at such a premium. It is also a mark of Toyota's UK manufacturing capability and testimony to the quality and commitment of our UK members," commented Dr Shuhei Toyoda, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe.

Toyota’s plants at Burnaston and Deeside were Toyota’s first manufacturing sites in Europe. In December 2002 they celebrated their 10th anniversary, having produced over 1.3 million vehicles and 1.1 million engines in the U.K. In January 2003 the Burnaston plant started manufacturing the all-new Toyota Avensis, alongside the Toyota Corolla. TMUK currently employs about 4,600 people and has recently announced plans to raise annual production capacity to 270,000 units, up from the current 220,000, by introducing a third shift at its vehicle plant, starting the second quarter of 2004. This will create another 1,000 jobs.

Originally launched in 1997, the Avensis was Toyota’s first product to be strongly influenced by its new European customer strategy. Designed at ED² in the South of France, a new generation of Toyota Avensis cars was rolled out in 2003, offering a stylish, innovative approach to the European driving experience. It is available in Sedan, Liftback and Wagon body-types, with a wide choice of engines and trim levels.

Aimed at the sophisticated driver, the Toyota Avensis is also environmentally innovative and meets the stringent Euro IV emissions legislation. It also is the first model to feature Toyota’s cutting-edge Toyota D-CAT (Diesel Clean Advanced Technology) system, an integrated suite of solutions delivering improved engine and environmental performance. Its core asset is the DPNR (Diesel Particulate NOx Reduction) catalyst and Toyota’s own second generation, high-pressure common rail diesel injection system.

Toyota aims to sell 790,000 vehicles in Europe in 2003. In the first half of this year, the company sold an all-time record 435,770* units in the period from January to June 2003, an increase of 6% over the first half of 2002. Toyota’s European market share for the first half reached 4.7%**, up from 4.5 % last year, setting a new record. Toyota also enjoyed a record monthly result in Europe with sales of 81,269 units for the month of June - an increase of 18% over the same month last year. On the manufacturing side, in the first half, Toyota produced 222,720 cars, 210,824 engines and 59,769 transmissions at its plants in the U.K., France, Turkey and Poland.

Published : 23/07/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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