Toyota is the latest car maker to announce their plans for investment in the UK automotive sector. The Japanese company, one of the largest manufacturers in the whole world, is to invest £240 million in their Burnaston plant outside Derby.
The aim is of the investment is to upgrade the plant to Toyota’s New Global Architecture, a system for producing vehicles around the world. This is designed to improve efficiency at plants by ensuring they are all connected.
The move to integrate the Burnaston plant into the new architecture is a positive for the long term future of the facility. The site is currently used to manufacture the Auris and Avensis models. It produced around 180,000 vehicles last year but the investment could see this number rise to new heights due to increasing competitiveness.
Some of the £240 million will be used to purchase new equipment, systems, and technology. This will provide big benefits to the 2,500 staff on the site, boosting efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness.
In addition the UK government is to provide £21.3 million of funds for the site. This will be used to fund training for staff and research and development. A portion will also be utilised to improve the environmental performance of the plant.
The news is great for job security at the plant and shows that Toyota is still committed to the operations in the UK, even with the threat of Brexit and the difficulties it could cause. The new equipment, systems, and technology could also result in automotive recruitment. Skilled people will be needed to operate some of these after-all.
The automotive sector in the UK is currently very strong and has benefitted from the huge amount of investments made in the past. In 2015 around £2.5 billion was invested. This was followed by an additional £1.66 billion in a turbulent 2016. A lot of funds have now been earmarked for 2017 too, very positive signs for the sector.