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Toyota preps for manufacturing shut-down

Going going: Toyota’s site in Sydney’s Caringbah is home to the sales and marketing department along with Lexus, the Parts Centre and the Eastern Region office – all of which will move with the site likely to be sold after 2017.

As 2017 nears, Toyota Australia prepares for factory closure and Melbourne move

Toyota logo27 Aug 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

TOYOTA Australia’s administrative staff will know by the end of this year whether there is a position for them beyond 2017, with the Japanese brand amid an organisational restructure to determine future staffing requirements.

As reported, Toyota will close its vehicle and engine manufacturing operations in Australia by the end of 2017, leaving some 6500 workers out of a job.

Not only is the company closing its production plant at Altona in Melbourne’s west, but the consolidation of its business in Melbourne will affect 350 sales and marketing employees and other staff members at its Sydney office at Caringbah.

Toyota Australia media and external affairs manager Beck Angel told GoAuto that the company is currently determining the most appropriate staffing structure for its future as a full-line importer.

In the lead-up to the Caringbah office shutting its doors, the 350 staff currently based there will be offered roles in Melbourne or, if the move down south is unappealing, they will be offered a redundancy.

It is believed that personnel who perform certain functions in Sydney – including human resources, marketing and administration – may not be offered a position in Melbourne if the same role already exists there.

Ms Angel said the Japanese car-maker is offering support to staff if they choose to move to Melbourne, while affected Sydney-based employees had until the end of July to determine whether they would make the move south.

The Sydney site also houses Toyota’s parts warehouse, a vehicle preparation area and the eastern regional sales office. These functions will be moved to other yet-to-be-determined locations – likely to be in Sydney’s west – while the Caringbah facility, near Botany Bay, will be sold off.

Toyota’s Australian headquarters in Bertie Street, Port Melbourne, will be refurbished to cope with the influx of new personnel, as will the office building at the Altona site.

The Altona office building will eventually house Toyota’s Australian design and product planning units. They were previously located around the corner from the main HQ, but Toyota will likely sell the site given property values in that location.

Toyota’s design team will continue under the guidance of the company’s design chief Nic Hogios, who will lead projects for both local and international markets.

While the design team will continue, there is no such luck for the Toyota Motor Corporation-owned Toyota Technical Centre in the Melbourne suburb of Notting Hill, which, as reported previously, will close.

The closure of the technical centre will be staggered over a number of months, with staff finishing up at the conclusion of the project that they were working on.

At the time of the announcement confirming the closure of manufacturing, the technical centre had 160 employees on its books.

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.

Toyota has set up a ‘Drive’ program at Altona, Port Melbourne and Caringbah, where staff can seek out advice and assistance on employment and training up to six months after the end of manufacturing.

Ms Angel said the second phase of this program had commenced, which involves assisting staff with individual career plans and job skills training, while employees also have the opportunity to access Toyota-sponsored study and training.

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