Johannesburg - Toyota South Africa has leaped from 12th to 7th position in terms of distributors selling the most vehicles outside Japan.
The Yaris is one of the best-selling cars in the Toyota stable
Toyota SA sold a record 151 056 units last year that placed it behind the United States, China, Thailand, Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Toyota Motor Corporation has a 75% share in its South African subsidiary.
Importantly, the market for Toyota in South Africa was bigger than for any country in Europe, as Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy placed below Toyota SA in the top 10 sellers' list.
By comparison, Toyota SA had been in 12th place in 2005, behind the Untied States, Thailand, Australia, China, Indonesia, Canada, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
Toyota also exported a record 49 142 built-up vehicles in 2006, which was almost two and a half times the 20 660 vehicles exported in 2005.
The strong performance in 2006 made Toyota the leading vehicle exporter from South Africa, with a 27.3% share of this market.
This strong local and export demand for Toyotas resulted in record production of 148 507 units, made up of 50 410 cars, 96 072 light and medium commercials and 2 025 Hino trucks.
This production figure was achieved despite a constraint in terms of body painting while a state-of-art new paint plant was completed. The R1.2-billion facility only came on stream in October.
Toyota SA's manufacturing output nevertheless put it in 10th place among Toyota's plants outside Japan.
Four of the top plants were in North America, being Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Kentucky (1st), New United Motor Manufacturing in California (3rd), Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (4th) and Canada (5th). The other plants above South Africa's Prospecton operation in KwaZulu-Natal were Thailand (2nd), England (6th), France (7th), China (8th) and Turkey (9th).
The total number of Toyota cars and commercial vehicles manufactured in South Africa has now risen to 2 813 857 units, made up of 1 478 867 cars and
1 334 990 commercials.
In addition, the plant has assembled 30 701 Hino trucks, 454 Peterbilt trucks and 39 508 Renault 5s.
The latter were marketed by Toyota SA between 1975 and 1983. This brings the total number of vehicles manufactured in KZN and marketed through Toyota SA and its dealers to 2 884 520 units.