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By Costas Pitas
LONDON, March 16 Japanese carmaker Toyota
said it plans to invest 240 million pounds ($294
million) to upgrade its car plant in central England for future
output, but retaining tariff-free access to EU markets after
Brexit remained crucial.
The company said it would also move to use more locally
sourced components, an area carmakers in Britain are focusing on
as a way to overcome currency fluctuations and potentially meet
new local content rules which could come into force after
Britain leaves the European Union.
Toyota builds the Auris hatchback and the Avensis family car
at the plant in Burnaston in Derbyshire. It said it would begin
upgrading equipment and technology at the plant this year to
allow it to build models on its new car-building platform, which
can be used for different models and is being rolled out
"Our investment demonstrates that, as a company, we are
doing all we can to raise the competitiveness of our Burnaston
plant in Derbyshire," Chief Executive of Toyota Motor Europe
Johan van Zyl said in a statement.
The British government would contribute an additional 21
million pounds to the investment, the carmaker said.
Toyota said last week that it could delay a decision on
whether to build its next-generation Auris model in Britain to
see the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
The carmaker, which also operates an engine plant in North
Wales, has invested over 2.5 billion pounds in Britain and
employs over 3,000 people at its sites.
Only 41 percent of the parts in British-built cars are made
within the country on average, less than the typical 50 to 55
percent local content requirement which Britain would have to
agree to in some bilateral trade deals.
But van Zyl warned that it was important for the government
to secure unfettered access to Europe for British-built car
exports as part of a Brexit deal.
"Continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the
UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be
vital for future success," he said.
($1 = 0.8164 pounds)
(Reporting by Costas Pitas, Editing by Paul Sandle and Susan