Toyota’s Global and USA Newsrooms recently informed us that post-earthquake Toyota and Lexus production boosts in Japan and North America would happen sooner than expected, starting in June instead of July and August as earlier predicted. But what about Europe? Fortunately, news from there is even better, as a press release from the Toyota Motor Europe Corporate Site informs us that production there will return to 100% normal, pre-earthquake levels in June. To be more precise:
The plants returning to 100% production volume on June 1 are Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK, producing Avensis, Auris and Auris HSD in Burnaston, Derbyshire and engines in Deeside, Flintshire), Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey (TMMT, producing Auris and Verso), and Toyota Motor Industries Poland (TMIP, producing engines). Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF, producing Yaris) had previously announced a return to normal from May 16. TME had temporarily adjusted production volume in late April and May.
On reporting this welcome bit of news, Toyota Motor Europe’s President and CEO Didier Leroy had this to say:
“This is great news for our customers and for our team members. I want to thank our suppliers for working hard to resolve the supply issues caused by the earthquake and our customers for their patience and understanding.
Even though this catastrophe has had a significant impact on Japan’s economy and Toyota’s operations, we are strongly committed to overcome it. In Europe, our product offering is excellent and market demand is strong – we intend to do all we can to catch up and increase our sales from last year. I believe that fighting to increase sales, profit and market share is the best way to support Japan as it recovers from this dramatic event.”
Indeed, Toyota’s European operations in 2011 still aim to exceed the Toyota and Lexus brands’ combined sales there of 808,311 vehicles during 2010. Of those, roughly 460,000 were built in Europe, as Japan’s Nikkei via The Truth About Cars remind us. They note, however, that European production slowdowns during April and May cost the carmaker some 40,000 vehicles for this year.
With the Toyota brand’s first scheduled launch for the 2011 calendar year, the Prius Alpha already delayed (and rumors circulating of delays for its North American Prius v counterpart as well), we can’t help but wonder if the European debut of the 3rd-generation of the Yaris might be postponed as well. The surprisingly quick return of full European production, however, is a welcome sign that its debut (likely at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show press conferences on Tuesday 13 September or Wednesday 14 September) will go on as scheduled.