Business Secretary Vince Cable witnessed a series of ‘firsts’ today as he toured Toyota’s Burnaston plant in Derby and officially launched its production of the first Auris HSD hybrid cars.
The Auris Hybrid is the first mass-produced fully hybrid vehicle in Europe and has the first hybrid engine to be made outside of Japan, which is manufactured at Toyota’s Deeside plant in North Wales.
Production of the Auris Hybrid will safeguard 400 jobs at the two plants.
Cable said: "Toyota’s decision to make Burnaston the only plant in the world to build the Hybrid Auris is a strong endorsement of the UK as a manufacturing base for the next generation of cars.
“It is sending a signal to manufacturers that if you’re not in the UK, then you’re missing out on all the strengths and skills that the UK has to offer.”
Katsunori Kojima, Managing Director of Toyota Manufacturing UK added: "It is a proud day for Toyota Manufacturing UK as we celebrate the official start of production of the Auris Hybrid Synergy Drive, yet another premium quality model to be built in Britain. To manufacture a world-class vehicle you need a world-class team and the commitment and dedication of our members has been crucial.
“As a model sustainable plant for Toyota in Europe we will truly be an eco plant with eco-minded people building eco cars.”
The Toyota Auris Hybrid goes on sale in the UK on July 1.