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Toyota commits to late-2017 engine plant closure

No changes: Toyota builds the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine for the Camry at its Melbourne engine plant.

Engine plant to continue until late 2017 as Toyota Technical Centre closes

3 Aug 2016

TOYOTA Australia is unlikely to follow Holden’s decision to close its engine plant ahead of the late-2017 manufacturing shutdown and will instead stick to its original wind-down schedule.

Last week Holden confirmed that its Port Melbourne engine plant would close by the end of this year and that it would stockpile its V6 engines for the Commodore range that will continue to be built at the Elizabeth, South Australia, factory until late 2017.

But Toyota looks set to retain its existing plan to close all of its Australian manufacturing facilities by the end of 2017 on a date that is yet to be announced.

“At this stage our plans haven’t changed and that is to end (production) by late next year,” said Toyota Australia corporate affairs manager Beck Angel.

When asked if production of the V6-powered Aurion sedan would wind up ahead of the popular Camry mid-sizer, Ms Angel said: “Our intention is to continue building until late 2017.” Toyota builds the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine for the Camry and other models at the Melbourne plant.

The confirmation follows news of the closure of the Toyota Technical Centre Australia in the south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Notting Hill on June 30.

Toyota had previously announced plans to close the Toyota Motor Corporation-owned Technical Centre upon completion of all of the projects staff were working on.

The staggered redundancies occurred once staff had finished working on a given project and by the time the centre closed, just 23 staffers were working there.

Those employees were redeployed within Toyota Australia on July 1.

Employees in the Multimedia unit of the tech centre moved into the Product Planning and Development unit that is housed at Bertie Street, Port Melbourne, just up the road from Toyota Australia HQ.

Remaining staff from the tech centre’s Vehicle Evaluation unit will stay on at Notting Hill for the time being, while the Customer, Quality and Engineering employees have been moved into the Port Melbourne HQ as part of the national service division.

It is unclear what the future holds for 40-year Toyota veteran and Toyota Technical Centre president Max Gillard but it is expected that he will retire.

Toyota Australia purchased the Notting Hill site earlier this year, but it is unclear what it will house in future.

Following the closure of manufacturing next year, the Product Planning and Development division will shift to Altona from the 61 Bertie Street site that Toyota Australia will sell.

As previously reported, the Altona site will house a new Centre for Excellence, as well as a training centre, while some space at the massive facility could potentially be sold off after manufacturing ends.  Employees at the Caringbah corporate office in Sydney’s south have also been informed if they have a position in Melbourne or if they will be made redundant. It is unclear at this stage how many people this affects.

Toyota confirmed in late 2014 that it would close the Caringbah offices and offer some staff transfers to Melbourne, while others would be made redundant.

Toyota announced its decision to end Australian production in early 2014 after Ford and Holden had also decided to pull out of local manufacturing.

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