March 17, 2017 - 15:29 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Toyota is to invest £240m in upgrading its UK factory that makes the Auris and Avensis models, BBC News reports.
The Japanese carmaker's investment in the Burnaston plant near Derby will allow production of vehicles using its new global manufacturing system.
The factory employs about 2,500 people, while another 590 work at Toyota's engine plant at Deeside, North Wales.
Burnaston made about 180,000 vehicles last year, most of which are exported to Europe and other markets.
Johan van Zyl, chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe, said the investment showed that the company was doing all it could to make Burnaston more competitive.
However, he warned: "Continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success."
Industry trade body the SMMT said in January that uncertainty around Brexit and the UK's future trading arrangements had hit investment in the car sector.
Investment commitments in the UK automotive sector last year totalled £1.66bn, down from £2.5bn in 2015.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said Toyota's investment "underlines the company's faith in its employees and will help ensure the plant is well positioned for future Toyota models to be made in the UK".
The government is providing £21.3m in funding for training, research and development, and improving the Burnaston plant's environmental performance.
Last year, rival carmaker Nissan said it would build both the new Qashqai and the X-Trail SUV at its Sunderland plant following government "support and assurances".