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Camry exports ‘vital’ for Toyota Oz

Thanks a million: Toyota Australia’s exports account for 70 per cent of local production.

Toyota Australian marks millionth export car to Mid East – and hopes for many more

25 Sep 2013

TOYOTA Australia says it hopes to continue exporting vehicles to the Middle East “for many years to come”, after shipping its millionth car to the Persian Gulf.

Announcing the export milestone in a statement today, the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, Dave Buttner, resisted the temptation to weigh into the Abbott government’s $500 million cuts to motor industry funding that reportedly have jeopardised the Australian manufacturing future of rival GM Holden and a number of parts-makers.

Mr Buttner said exports played a vital part in Toyota Australia’s balanced business model.

“We will do everything we can to continue to support our export customers,” he said. “To ensure we understand the needs of the market, Toyota Australia has key support employees living in the region to constantly talk to our customers and distributors about their needs and reaction to our products.

“Through this information and our extensive knowledge of the Middle East, we are able to build high quality and durable vehicles that can withstand all weather conditions and local terrain.

“We hope that we can continue to supply vehicles to this very important export market for many more years to come.”

Last year, Toyota exported 72,899 Camrys and Aurions from its Altona plant in Melbourne’s west, with 97 per cent of those going to six Gulf Co-operation Council countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Toyota Australia media and external affairs manager Bec Angel told Go Auto today that the company expected to export a similar number of vehicles to the Middle East this year.

She said the export program was open ended, and she said she was not aware of any plans to curtail it any time soon.

Toyota is planning a facelift for its locally made Camry in 2015, apparently seeing it through to the end of the decade.

In August, the company said it was planning to invest $123 million investment in its local manufacturing operations, with a further $23.6 million promised by the then federal government and another unspecified amount from the Victorian government.

As well, Canberra promised a further $5 million contribution to Toyota’s planned $15 million investment in a supplier development program.

The Toyota Camry/Aurion export program – which also includes small numbers of cars for New Zealand and South Pacific islands – is by far Australia’s biggest car export deal, helping to drive local Toyota production to about 100,000 units a year and support a new four-cylinder engine plant in Victoria.

Australian-made Camrys have been exported to the Middle East since 1996, with orders peaking at 97,153 in 2008 before the global financial crisis savaged global car sales.

Last year, Toyota axed 350 workers – more than 10 per cent of its workforce – from the Altona plant, blaming falling export orders and economic factors.

At the time, Toyota Australia president Max Yasuda said: “Toyota Australia is facing severe operating conditions resulting in unsustainable financial returns due to factors including the strong Australian currency, reduced cost competitiveness and volume decline, especially in export markets.”

Toyota also exports about 18,000 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and hybrid engines to Thailand and Malaysia from its refurbished $331 million engine plant that opened next to the Camry-Aurion production plant last year.

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