Toyota denies plans to withdraw from UK car production

Toyota has reasserted its commitment to car production in the UK after reports suggested it had threatened to withdraw due to the government’s plans to speed up the transition to EVs. 

The Japanese car maker has reaffirmed that it has a “clear roadmap” for achieving zero-emissions vehicles as the Department for Transport (DtF) prepares to introduce targets that require a higher percentage of new-car sales to be zero-emissions each year from 2024.

Toyota said it’s on course for 100% of its models sold to be zero-emissions by 2035. 

“We’re focused on achieving a long-term and sustainable future, including for our UK plants, as we move towards our ultimate goal of securing carbon-neutral operations,” Toyota said in a statement sent to Autocar.

“Having invested £240 million in our UK operations to produce the current Corolla models, we aren’t due to make imminent investment decisions regarding local manufacturing.” 

The Toyota Corolla is currently produced at the firm’s Burnaston factory in Derbyshire, which employs around 3000 people. It also produces engines at Deeside in north Wales. 

Toyota said it hadn’t seen the government’s plans for a new zero emissions mandate. 

“We can’t comment on the government’s consultation relating to the technical details for a new zero-emissions mandate and CO2 regulatory regime, because we haven’t seen it,” the firm said.

“We will continue to approach any discussion with the UK government based on constructive and respectful dialogue.

“Wherever we operate, our philosophy is to always abide by the emission regulatory standards set by governments. We’ve never missed a European CO2 target, making Toyota a leader among major automotive companies.” 

Toyota is currently targeting a zero-emissions sales mix of at least 50% by 2030 in western Europe, with further increases planned “based on customer demand”.

Its premium brand, Lexus, will also transition to EV-only from 2030. Both brands are aiming to offer a total of 15 EVs after 2030, including saloons, SUVs and sports cars. 

“We continue to see a role for many different technologies in the transition to zero-emissions based on the principle of mobility for all – including the current hybrid vehicles built in the UK, of which the vast majority are exported to Europe,” Toyota said. 

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