Toyota to produce new Suzuki hybrid car at UK plant

Toyota will make a new electric hybrid car at its Derbyshire plant. The announcement is a rare a piece of good news for car production in the UK, which has seen a host of manufacturers move work abroad.

The Japanese carmaker will produce a new Suzuki model at the site in Burnaston, which employs around 2,600 people and produced 129,000 cars last year.

The company expects production numbers to rise as it rolls out the new model later this year. Engines are to be supplied by Toyota’s factory in Deeside, north Wales, using components from Japan, the company said.

It comes just weeks after Toyota warned it would be impossible to avoid negative effects of a no-deal Brexit.

“We cannot avoid the negative impact no matter how much we prepare beforehand if Britain leaves the EU with no deal,” the firm’s senior managing officer Masayoshi Shirayanagi said in February. 

On Wednesday, Toyota’s UK managing director,Marvin Cooke said: “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.

“We have consistently said for the medium to longer term, continued free and frictionless trade and common automotive technical standards will be essential to support the international competitiveness of the UK automotive sector.”

The UK car industry has made increasingly impassioned pleas to the government to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which it says could prove disastrous for the sector.

Facing a host of problems, including a slump in demand for diesel-engined cars, a slowdown in China and the prospect of tariffs and border checks after Brexit, several manufacturers have shifted the production of models overseas.

The UK’s biggest carmaker, Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover, has ramped up its presence in Slovakia while Nissan announced it would make a new X-Trail model in Japan instead of Sunderland as the company had previously pledged.

Japanese car imports to the EU will see tariffs cut to zero over the next few years while those from the UK will be hit with a 10 per cent tax after Brexit unless a new traded deal is agreed.

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