24 September 2015

UK Car Industry: Toyota #4

Toyota Derbyshire

For a car giant like Toyota, I'm surprised they haven't tried harder in Europe. One could argue that they do not want to get into the discounting that blights the EU market. However, when one looks at the products they have then that would be the telling factor for me. Nissan makes money in Europe and is now outselling Toyota in the region as well. Product is the difference.

Nissan Europe is passing Toyota Europe because it makes the kinds of cars Europeans that more want to buy. Toyota has admitted recently that the Qashqai and Juke models have been the difference. They plan to remedy that because Nissan beating Toyota hurts, even if it is only on one continent. They slipped from third to fourth in UK car making, passed by MINI in 2014.

So what do Toyota make in the UK? The Auris car (Corolla elsewhere) which is good in the Toyota way. Good means conservative. They also make the Avensis which is a better car than many Europeans realise, but it is often overlooked and the segment isn't booming. It is also considered unadventurous. You would think Toyota would go the Nissan way and build in Europe at least one vehicle that Europeans are increasingly turning to, and that is the crossover types like the Qashqai.

Apart from those two models there is also an engine plant in North Wales, 227,000 made in 2014. For Toyota production history in the UK, simply click here for comprehensive data. No design work is done in the UK. So as this blog series is about what car companies add to the UK manufacturing landscape, I would have to say somewhat underwhelming. Better than nothing of course and the economies in Derby (car) and Deeside (engine) are greatly benefited. It's just for the world's premier car maker, one could expect more. An SUV may do the trick.

Production share (car) of the UK total: 11.3%. UK value rating: 6/10.

The previous article is for the MINI (found here). Next is Honda (found here).

The Avensis Tourer. If you want well made, stop right here

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