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Toyota SA bets R1bn on Corolla

2014-02-05 08:01

INVESTMENT CELEBRATION: KZN'Spremier Senzo Mchunu (left) and Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota SA Motors, with a new-generation Toyota Corolla. Image: Toyota SA

• Full production of new Toyota Corolla starts
• Toyota invests R1-billion in Prospecton plant
• New model to be built in left and right-hand drive for local and export markets

PROSPECTON, KZN - Toyota SA has celebrated the start of local volume production of the new Toyota Corolla – the 11th generation of the world’s best-selling car.

The celebration was held at its Prospecton plant in Durban.

Johan van Zyl, president and CEO of Toyota SA Motors, said: "This celebration is the culmination of several years of planning and preparation and more than R1-billion of direct investment in the production capabilities of Prospecton."

'HARD TO BELIEVE'

The investment was the second in the current phase of capital expansion that started with R363-million in a parts distribution centre in Gauteng in 2012 which followed an R8-billion investment in 2008 to increase annual production to to 220 000.

Van Zyl added: “It's hard to believe that a mere two generations of the Corolla ago we were a manufacturing operation with South Africa as our sole market. Today the Corolla, a good example of leading-edge technology, is manufactured in high volumes for local and the export markets.

"The success of Toyota and the automotive industry’s transformation from local manufacturing and assembly to global manufacturing facilities is due to the successful implementation of the SA government’s Motor Industry Development Programme to encourage high-volume local manufacturing and exports.

"The environment created by the MIDP, and subsequently the challenges posed by the new Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) allows vehicle manufacturing facilities to invest in long-term projects that have long investment horizons."

BRAND-NEW VEHICLE

Despite the opportunities offered by the production and export of the Corolla, many challenges remained

The new Corolla is a brand-new vehicle with a new level of technology and refinement for Toyota in the C segment. Calvyn Hamman, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at Toyota SA Motors, explained: “The new Corolla is a new vehicle in every way with some of the best technology Toyota has in this very important market segment.

"The fact that South African-produced Corollas will be on sale in Africa and Europe is a feather in the cap for local engineering capabilities.”

• Toyota SA Motors assembled its millionth Corolla in December 2013. This follows a similar global celebration in September 2013 when the 40-millionth Corolla was delivered to a customer; the model is still, the Guinness Book of Records says,  the world’s most popular model.

Wheels24's SERGIO DAVIDS will be at the launch of the new flagship Corolla in Cape Town on Friday (Feb 7 2014). Check back then on our New Models section for our full launch report. http://www.wheels24.co.za/NewModels/




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