Everything keeps going right for Toyota in SA

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

South Africa is Toyota's ninth biggest market, prompting the Japanese car giant to invest in making this country a manufacturing hub, Toyota South Africa president and chief executive officer Johan van Zyl said.

He was speaking at the opening of Toyota's upgraded Corolla assembly plant in Prospecton, KwaZulu-Natal on Monday.

The size of Toyota's investment was not revealed, but van Zyl said the event marked "the culmination of a five-year, multi-billion rand plant modernisation and revitalisation programme for Toyota South Africa", which brings its capacity to 220000 vehicles a year.

Of these, 147000 are destined for more than 40 destinations in Europe and other countries in Africa.

The Hilux and Corolla range that Toyota South Africa's export programme focuses on are expected to account for 60percent of all vehicle exports from South Africa based on current export programmes.

Both left- and right-hand drive vehicles will be built here for different export markets.

He said delivering these vehicles requires a weekly service by specialised vehicle carriers to Europe and North Africa, with deliveries to West Africa made by ship every two weeks.

The East African destinations are served by monthly shipments. All vehicles are shipped from the Durban harbour.

He said: "Our achievements as the market leader in South Africa for the past 28 years has been fundamental in the development of Toyota South Africa as a world class manufacturing hub that feeds into the Toyota global vehicle manufacturing network."