INTRODUCTION Toyota is one of the world's best-known and most successful businesses, building cars and trucks in 26 countries for sale in more than 170 markets around the globe. Worldwide production was 9.2 million (8.2 million for Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles) in 2008, making Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) the world largest vehicle manufacturer in terms of product volume A key element in Toyota's success is its commitment to designing, engineering and building cars in the world regions where they will be sold.
In Europe, this local manufacturing policy was launched in 1989 with the founding of Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, just ahead of the opening of Toyota's first European production centres: a car plant at Burnaston, near Derby, and an engine factory at Deeside, in North Wales. The level of UK production has made Toyota a key player in the nation's manufacturing industry. With more than 75 per cent of its UK output destined for export, Toyota also makes a valuable contribution to the national balance of payments.
Burnaston is responsible for worldwide production of the Toyota Avensis and has the distinction of being the first Toyota factory to export cars to the company's "home" market in Japan. In 2004 Toyota invested a further £50 million to increase production capacity at Burnaston to 285,000 vehicles a year and in 2005 TMUK's achievements were recognised with the Queen's Award for International Trade. In 2009 Toyota announced Burnaston would lead its European development of hybrid power models, tasked with building hybrid versions of the Auris hatchback from mid-2010
Toyota (GB) PLC is the company responsible for sales, marketing, after sales and customer relations for Toyota and Lexus in the UK, employing more than 400 people at a landmark headquarters building in Surrey. The sales performance over the past decade has consolidated the UK's position as one of Toyota's strongest European markets.
TOYOTA HISTORY The Toyota success story is built on innovation, both in terms of its products and the processes by which they are made. In 1918, Sakichi Toyoda revolutionised the weaving industry with his invention of an automatic loom. The proceeds from the sale of his patent to a British firm - Platt Brothers of Oldham - provided his son Kichiro with the finances to make a start in the developing car industry.
The pioneering work practices that Sakichi had developed for his loom business were easily adapted to the new automotive operation and in 1936 the first prototype car, the Toyoda AA, was completed. The following year the Toyota Motor Corporation was formed with an investment of about £300,000. It had a tough time establishing itself, as the Japanese car market was dominated by American imports from Ford and General Motors. World War II also threatened to destroy the enterprise, but Toyota survived and in 1947 celebrated building its 100,000th vehicle. In the 1950s Toyota laid the foundations for a new system of manufacturing vehicles.
This was developed into the Toyota Production System, an exceptionally efficient set of principles that have been widely used and adapted within the motor industry and beyond. At the same time as it was honing its manufacturing processes, Toyota was also looking closely at how to design and engineer more desirable and competitive products for international markets. Sales companies were set up in Taiwan and Saudi Arabia before overseas production began, albeit on a small scale, in Brazil in 1959. It was in the early 1960s that Toyota began importing cars to Europe, first to Denmark. In 1965 it entered the UK market, launching the Corona saloon at the Earls Court Motor Show. The following year the original Corolla was launched, the first appearance of what was destined to become the world's most successful model rang safety
Safety is another key area in which Toyota continues to deliver market-leading new technology and systems. Both active and passive safety measures are addressed: active safety concerns the means by which the driver and vehicle can avoid hazards through technological features such as anti-lock braking, stability control and traction control; passive safety covers the way in which driver and passengers are protected should an accident occur, such as airbags, seatbelts and elements in the car's basic structure that absorb and channel impact forces away from the cabin.
Toyota's work in designing integrated transport systems has helped develop features such as Pre-Crash Safety, in which a radar system and electronic control unit can determine when a collision is inevitable and trigger seatbelt pretensioners and emergency braking at the optimum moment before impact. Toyota recognises the importance of preventive safety systems which detect the risk of an accident and assist the driver in avoiding it, or, should the worst happen, mitigating the consequences. THE GROWING 2005
The UK is announced as the site for Toyota's European Global Production Training Centre. TMUK receives the Queen's Award for International Trade. Record production levels are achieved at Burnaston; the UK plant also builds its two millionth vehicle. Production of the Aygo city car starts, the smallest model to be launched by Toyota in Europe. Aygo is built in a joint project with PSA Peugeot Citroën at a new production centre in Kolin, in the Czech Republic. New-generation 2.2-litre D-4D diesel engines are launched, built at Toyota's new facility in Poland. Avensis and Verso are the first models to adopt them.
New Toyota Hilux is launched in October, the sixth generation of Toyota's legendary go-anywhere pick-up. December brings an all-new Yaris, the second generation of Toyota's top-selling European model. It achieves a top five-star Euro NCAP rating for occupant crash protection. 2006
The RAV4, Europe's most popular SUV, enters a new era with an all-new model. More flexible interior accommodation and advanced drive technology raise the benchmark in the compact SUV segment. New 148 and 175bhp 2.2-litre diesel engines are introduced in the Avensis range, the latter equipped with Toyota's D-CAT catalyst system to achieve substantial reductions in exhaust emissions.
The Hilux pick-up benefits from a revised 2.5-litre D-4D engine, increasing power and torque. A 169bhp 3.0-litre D-4D unit is announced for the range, available from early 2007. Cleaner and more powerful (94 and 118bhp) 2.5-litre D-4D engines are also introduced in the Hiace range of vans. Toyota unveils the Auris, an all new family hatchback model to be built in the UK and Turkey. 2007
Production of Auris begins at TMUK's Burnaston factory, with investment in the Deeside engine plant to build new ZR 1.6-litre petrol engines for the model. UK sales started on 1 February. Deeside celebrates building its three millionth engine since production began in 1992.
On 2 May a Toyota Hilux becomes the first car to reach the Magnetic North Pole, driven by Jeremy Clarkson and James May of the BBC's Top Gear programme. A new 3.0-litre D-4D diesel engine is introduced into the Dyna, completing Toyota's upgrading of its complete LCV powertrain range to meet Euro IV emissions standards. The Yaris range is extended to include a new flagship SR 1.8 model, powered exclusively by a new 1.8-litre Dual VVT-i petrol engine. 2008
The Land Cruiser V8 is scheduled for UK launch in February, replacing the Land Cruiser Amazon at the top of Toyota's 4x4 range. Toyota unveils a production-ready version of the iQ at the Geneva motor show, a new compact urban car due to go on sale early in 2009. Also revealed is the Urban Cruiser, a new compact SUV, due for European launch in 2009. At the Paris motor show in September Toyota launches Toyota Optimal Drive, a combination of new powertrain design and engineering technologies designed to improve fuel efficiency and emissions. Auris is first to benefit from the advance, with the introduction of a new 1.33-litre Dual VVT-i engine with Stop & Start. 2009
The third-generation, British built Avensis goes on sale in January, together with the all-new iQ. Urban Cruiser, a new breed of compact hatchback with all-wheel drive capability, is launched in May. Toyota Optimal Drive technology is rolled out across the model range with new Valvematic petrol engines, revised D-4D and D-CAT diesel engines and six- speed manual and automatic transmissions. In February Toyota Hilux models are driven to the South Pole, supporting an overland challenge. Also in February both new Avensis and iQ achieve the top five-star all-round safety rating in new, more stringent Euro NCAP crash testing.
The new generation Prius and hybrid power Lexus RX 450h are presented at the Geneva motor show in March, prior to going on sale in the summer. In April sales start of the new generation Toyota Verso compact MPV. Toyota opens a new chapter in the development of its European manufacturing operations with the announcement a hybrid version of Auris will be built at Burnaston in the UK. The model is scheduled to go on sale during 2010.
A new generation Land Cruiser is unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show and goes on sale in December. Toyota also announces a worldwide trial of a new Prius Plug-in model, with extended electric-only running capabilities. At the Tokyo motor show Toyota presents a new FT-86 rear-wheel drive sports car concept. In November Toyota announces the end of its Formula 1 programme.