Toyota has announced that it will be producing a new hybrid car in the UK for Suzuki, in a boost to British car industry workers amid continued Brexit uncertainty, The Guardian reports. The car in question is said to be based on the Toyota Corolla, and the announcement is part of the Toyota-Suzuki global partnership to produce hybrid and electric cars.
The new car, which will be built at the firm’s Burnaston plant in Derbyshire (engines are to be supplied by its Deeside factory in north Wales), is unlikely to create new jobs within the facility, but it will contribute to the security of its employees, amounting to around 3,200 workers. This is a stark contrast to Honda’s decision to close down its Swindon plant, affecting some 3,500 workers.
Toyota Manufacturing UK’s managing director, Marvin Cook, said “this is good news for our UK plants. Seeking to produce additional volume for other customers is one example of all the efforts we are making to keep our UK manufacturing operations as competitive as they can be,” he explained.
Moving forward, Toyota will produce hybrids based on its Corolla and RAV4 SUV for Suzuki in Europe, while Suzuki will supply Toyota with petrol engines for compact vehicle models sold in the same region. The partnership will also see Suzuki produce more Toyota vehicles in the near future.
The report also says Suzuki, a smaller but dominant player in the fast-growing Indian automotive market, will help Toyota expand its presence in India, and it plans to do so by developing two compact models based on its Ciaz and Ertiga models. Toyota has struggled to increase sales in the world’s fifth-largest passenger car market, due to poor demand for its low-cost cars.
This partnership will also allow Suzuki to tap into Toyota’s R&D firepower to help develop lower-emission vehicles and self-driving cars, two areas which Suzuki admits to be lagging behind. In turn, Suzuki will also produce its Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Ciaz, and Ertiga models for Toyota, which will be rebranded and renamed as Toyota models for the African market.
Toyota president Akio Toyoda said: “We believe that the expansion of our business partnership with Suzuki… will help give us the competitive edge we will need to survive this once-in-a-century period of profound transformation.”