Toyota: Tariff free trade “vital” for success of new £220m investment

Toyota has called for tariff free access to the single market, after announcing a £240m investment in its Burnaston manufacturing plant in Derbyshire.

The investment will be used to upgrade the facility over the next 18 months and includes a £21.3m grant from the government for research, development, training and to help the plant improve its environmental footprint.

Toyota Motor Europe chief executive, Dr Johan van Zyl, said: “Continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success.”

Unite, which is the biggest union representing workers in the industry and its supply chain, urged the government to move swiftly to secure access and invest in skills and technology to ensure the industry goes from strength to strength.

“The confirmation of this platform upgrade at Toyota is further evidence that the UK car industry and the people who work in it are among the best in the world at what they do,” said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.

“Their skill and efficiency right through the supply chain to the production line is second to none. They need to know that the government has their back and will do whatever is necessary to ensure new models and new investment keeps coming to Britain.

“With discussions set to start on the replacement of models such as Vauxhall’s Astra and decisions due on BMW’s electric Mini, it is vital that government ministers calm nerves by stating they will secure tariff free access to the European single market and customs union in Brexit negotiations.

“This must also be backed up with investment in the UK’s supply chain and new technology to ensure the UK remains a world leader in car manufacturing. The car industry is one of the jewels in our nation’s manufacturing crown, government ministers must work with us to keep it that way.”

Chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Mike Hawes, also pressed the government to protect the automotive industry.

He said: “This latest investment is welcome news for Toyota and the wider UK automotive sector. It’s essential that investment continues in plants across the UK to maintain our global competitiveness and put us in the best position to secure new models in the future.

“After a decline in investments in the sector last year, government must continue to collaborate with industry and, as we leave the EU, deliver a deal that safeguards as many of the trading benefits we currently enjoy.”