Toyota SA gears up for exports
12 April 2007
Toyota South Africa has completed the R2.4-billion expansion of its manufacturing plant in Prospecton, south of Durban, paving the way for the company to become a major exporter of fully built-up vehicles.
The company, 75% owned by the Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan, began its expansion programme five year ago to enable production of the new Hilux as part of Toyota's global International Innovative Multipurpose Vehicle (IMV) programme for both local and export markets.
Approximately half of the investment amount was set aside for local suppliers and contractors.
Toyota SA said in a statement last month that the new facility has more than doubled the component stamping capacity at Prospecton, as the company aims to produce 220 000 vehicles a year on a two-shift basis by 2008.
"The successful completion of this project and the introduction of the IMV resulted in Toyota Motor Corporation giving an emphatic indication of its confidence in Toyota
South Africa as a partner in its global manufacturing network by announcing that the Prospecton plant would become a source plant for a second high-volume export model," said Toyota SA chief executive Johan van Zyl.
"Like the IMV, this model is destined for export to Europe, in both right- and left-hand drive form, with production due to start during 2007."
The stamping facility features two new-generation presses using technology developed by Toyota for use only in its own plants. Toyota South Africa is only the third country, including Japan, to make use of this technology.
Improvements at its manufacturing plant will also bring a steady steel supply to the company's stamping lines, eliminating the need to source steel from Gauteng.
"When Toyota SA is producing at its 220 000 units per annum design capacity, approximately half of the production will be for export markets," Van Zyl said. "This will be a 120% increase over the 50 000 plus units exported by Toyota South
Africa in 2006."
The company commissioned a state-of-the-art R1-billion water-based paint plant in August 2006, one of only five such plants commissioned globally by Toyota.