Locally Made Corollas From South Africa Heading to Europe

by : Kaye Leery

Starting next year Toyota's South African subsidiary will be exporting its locally produced Toyota Corollas from Durban to Europe. This move is aimed to boost the economy of KwaZulu-Natal.

The decision was finalized after a meeting last Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan between the provincial government and Toyota representatives. During the meeting with KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele, the Vice Chairperson of Toyota Motor Corporation Katsuhiro Nakagawa said that Toyota South Africa would produce Corollas with quality that are specifically intended to be exported to Europe.

Mr. Nakagawa also said that 50 engineers have already been sent to South Africa to help with the manufacturing of the vehicles. He added, "Toyota is determined to produce more vehicles in South Africa which can be exported to other countries. The exporting of vehicles from South Africa to other countries is very important for South Africa's economy. The automotive industry is also important for the development of South Africa."

He further stated that they also want an increased presence of Japanese automotive parts suppliers in South Africa since the country is considered the gateway to the rest of Africa.

Mr. Nakagawa explained, "We want to make our South African plant more competitive compared to Toyota plants in other countries." Likewise in a bid to ensure the competitiveness of their South African plant, Mr. Nakagawa also acknowledges the importance of training workers.

The production of the latest model of the Toyota Corolla in South Africa is currently ongoing and proceeding well. The new Corolla is to be launched in August this year.

Mr. Nakagawa said, "However, we are trying hard to introduce new models of Toyota to be produced is South Africa as well."

Premier Ndebele has greatly appreciated the confidence given by Toyota to South Africa particularly KwaZulu-Natal. He said, "We appreciate the new investment of more than R4 billion at the plant at Prospecton in Durban. However, we would like to see Toyota producing other automotive components in KwaZulu-Natal as well."

Premier Ndebele also expressed their gratitude to the Japanese automaker and said that they welcome the development of an Automotive Supplier Park in the province. He also agreed with Mr. Nakagawa saying that it is important to accelerate training of the current and future workforce.

He said, "Continuous training is very important. We have to train all the time. For the market in South Africa, the market in Africa and the market elsewhere, training is important."