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 announced investment follows strong demand for Toyota models across Europe, with sales up 22% in the first quarter of 2004.  The company had originally intended to increase capacity to 270,000 units, but plans are being accelerated to increase from the current production levels of 220,000 units.

Recruitment started last year and it is estimated around 500 workers are still needed.

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.”

The additional investment announced will accelerate the introduction of Toyota’s latest state-of-the-art production technology at the Burnaston plant, including:

  • In Weld, the introduction of a second Global Body Line with conveyerless transfer of vehicle bodies to increase flexibility.
  • In Paint, introduction of the latest, highly efficient cartridge gun robots to replace some of the existing automated spraying machines.

Toyota has already invested £1.7 billion in its UK manufacturing operations. Since the start of production in 1992, Toyota has built over 1.6 million vehicles at Burnaston and over 1.5 million engines at Deeside.