Toyota to invest £240m in its UK factory

Published: 16 March 2017

► Toyota safeguards UK plant’s future
► Next-gen Auris to be built at Burnaston
► Supplementary £21.3m in government support

Toyota has announced today (16 March 2017) a planned investment of £240m in its UK manufacturing plant at Burnaston in Derbyshire.

The factory will be upgraded from later this year onwards to enable production of the company’s latest Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which by 2020 will form the basis for the majority of Toyota’s global model line-up. The Prius and C-HR crossover are the first two models on TNGA, but they aren’t manufactured in the UK.

The UK government is also investing £21.3m support for training, r&d and environmental upgrades at the facility.

What does Toyota build at Burnaston?

The Derbyshire plant currently builds the Auris and Avensis, and employs 2500 people. Toyota also has a separate engine plant in Deeside, North Wales; it produces hybrid drivetrains for the current Auris and C-HR, for example.

Toyota's Burnaston plant

What’s going to be built there next?

CAR understands the next Auris hatch will be the lead car for the Burnaston plant; it’s set for replacement in the 2019 timeframe. This new car switches to the ‘TNGA’ platform, and the Auris and its Corolla sibling for American and Japanese markets will provide the greatest volume on the components set. No word yet on whether Burnaston could export to North America with its new generation hatch: Honda has created a useful Brexit hedge for its Civic plant at Swindon, because 50% of its volume is now exported to North America.

The future of the Avensis is cloudier. UK registrations are in the region of 4-5000 cars a year; mainstream saloon sales are slumping as consumers switch to SUVs.

Toyota cites UK supply chain efficiencies as part of its reasoning for its renewed investment decision. Toyota Motor Europe’s president Johan van Zyl said: ‘This upgrade of TMUK is a sign of confidence in our employees and suppliers and their focus on superior quality and greater efficiency. We welcome the UK Government funding contribution for this activity.

‘Our investment demonstrates that, as a company, we are doing all we can to raise the competitiveness of our Burnaston plant in Derbyshire.’

He went on to caution: ‘Continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success.’

The news comes as a question mark hangs over Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant, following Peugeot-Citroën’s intention to buy GM Europe.

In autumn last year, Nissan announced its new Qashqai and X-Trail models would be built at its Sunderland plant, in one of the first major post-Brexit automotive investment announcements.

Two born every minute: inside Nissan's Sunderland plant

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer