Brussels, Belgium - Many Toyota drivers in Europe may not be aware of it, but there is a good chance that their Toyota was built in Europe. In fact, today, two out of three vehicles sold on the continent are made by Toyota employees in one of the 6 vehicle plants and 3 powertrain plants located in Portugal, the UK, Turkey, France, Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia. Cumulative European production will reach 9 million vehicles this week.
Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe recently announced the milestone at the Paris Motor Show, currently open in the French capital: “Toyota Europe is celebrating this month a new milestone with the production of its 9.000.000th car in Europe. And I am happy to say, that we do so in excellent health,” referring to the strong profit results posted in the past fiscal year by Toyota’s Europe region and three consecutive years of sales growth for the company on the continent, with plans to increase sales further in calendar year 2014.
“At Toyota, we have a long tradition of building locally what we sell locally. Recently, we have also expanded our exports outside Europe based on the competitiveness of our European operations. We are committed to keeping production in Europe by bringing technology like hybrid and management innovations that enable us to continuously make our manufacturing plants globally competitive,” added Mr Leroy.
European manufacturing started back in 1971 with the establishment of the first plant - Toyota Caetano Portugal S.A. where the very first European-made Corolla was produced.
Today, 43 years later, nine European manufacturing plants located in seven European countries, representing an investment of more than 8 billion euros, are producing an extensive range of vehicles for European customers as well as some exports to the US market:
“Looking ahead,” Didier Leroy continued, “we have every reason to remain optimistic. With the recent launch of the new generation AYGO and Yaris we have the youngest compact offer in the market. Sales of these European-built models just started and we are very confident that they will reinforce our position in the A- and B-segments and with that, the foundation of our manufacturing operations in the Europe region.”
Indeed, European design has gained more autonomy from Japan and new models are tailored for the taste of European customers – new designs are highly distinctive, edgy and eye-catching like the new generation AYGO, the new Yaris, or the CH-R Concept revealed in Paris earlier this month.
With Toyota's Global Vision, operations in Europe will be taking up an increasingly larger role as global planning centre to define the future generations of cars in the essential European A, B and C segments.