British Business Secretary Vince Cable witnessed a series of ‘firsts’ today (28 June) as he toured Toyota’s Burnaston plant in Derby and officially launched production of the first Auris Hybrid cars. Batteries used in hybrid vehicles are expected to be a driving force for nanomaterials used in batteries to improve power and battery life.
The Auris Hybrid is the first mass-produced fully hybrid vehicle in Europe and has the first hybrid engine to be made outside of Japan, which is manufactured at Toyota’s Deeside plant in North Wales.
It’s further demonstration that vehicle manufacturers in the UK are making the transition to low carbon transport a reality. Production of the Auris Hybrid will safeguard 400 jobs at the two plants.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Toyota’s decision to make Burnaston the only plant in the world to build the Hybrid Auris is a strong endorsement of the UK as a manufacturing base for the next generation of cars. “It is sending a signal to manufacturers that if you’re not in the UK, then you’re missing out on all the strengths and skills that the UK has to offer.”
Mr Katsunori Kojima, Managing Director of Toyota Manufacturing UK added: “It is a proud day for Toyota Manufacturing UK as we celebrate the official start of production of the Auris Hybrid Synergy Drive, yet another premium quality model to be built in Britain. To manufacture a world-class vehicle you need a world-class team and the commitment and dedication of our members has been crucial.
“As a model sustainable plant for Toyota in Europe we will truly be an eco plant with eco-minded people building eco cars.”
The Toyota Auris Hybrid goes on sale in the UK on Thursday 1 July.
The manufacturing sector will be vital to tackling the debt as the sector contributes £160bn pa to UK economy (12.3% of GDP in 2008) and is responsible for 53% of UK exports and over 2.8m workforce jobs.
The automotive sector is worth over £10 billion to the UK economy and it employs 180,000 people. Six per cent of the entire UK manufacturing workforce is directly employed in over 3,300 unique automotive businesses. The UK has 11 of the world’s volume vehicle manufacturers supported by 19 of the world’s top 20 suppliers.
On 7 June Toyota celebrated a manufacturing milestone when the 3 millionth vehicle came off its UK production line. It was marked by planting a commemorative tree.