Corolla Cross production starts in Durban

Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has commenced production of the new Corolla Cross, which includes South Africa’s first locally produced volume hybrid electric vehicle.

PHOTO 2021 10 26 15 57 0927

TSAM President and CEO Andrew Kirby says TSAM has cumulatively invested more than R6.5 billion in its Prospecton plant in Durban in the last five years, including R2.6 billion for the production of the Corolla Cross.

Kirby says the introduction of the Corolla Cross model has generated a total of 575 new jobs at the TSAM plant while more than 1 200 direct jobs were created in the component supply base.

He says maximising the local content in the Corolla Cross was another significant focus during the project and this has resulted in the localisation of 621 parts with 56 local suppliers – 16 of which are black-owned.

Kirby says TSAM has also onboarded five new Tier-1 suppliers, all of which are black-owned, and 12 new Tier-2 and Tier-3 suppliers.

“The economic contribution with TSAM’s local suppliers for this project is over R1.4 billion per annum,” he says.

Kirby added that the introduction of a number of new suppliers had resulted in TSAM significantly increasing the local content in the Corolla Cross compared to the Corolla Quest. If we look at all the parts that we purchase and the assembly that we add to the vehicle, we are at around 52%. We have improved the local content by about six percentage points,” he says.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who attended the launch of production of the Corolla Cross, says localisation and transformation are critical pillars to the Automotive Masterplan and the government is working with Toyota to ensure that the Corolla Cross is giving practical implementation to both these pillars.

From left: Toyota CEO Andrew Kirby, President Cyril Ramaphosa, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala and Minister Ibrahim Patel of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

“There are a number of initiatives by Toyota to improve local content and increase the number of new suppliers into South Africa from the global supply chain, as well as using and developing new suppliers locally.

“Industrialisation through localisation is a key pillar of our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, including the development of export competitive sectors that can expand the sales of South African made products on the continent and beyond,” he says.

Ramaphosa added that the R2.6 billion investment in the Prospecton plant for the production of the Corolla Cross is a vote of confidence by an iconic Japanese car maker in South Africa.

He says Japan is a long term and significant investor in South Africa, adding that there are about 130 Japanese companies operating in South Africa, including Nissan, Isuzu and Sumitomo Rubber Industries.

Kirby says an important aspect driving the success of the Corolla Cross project was to ensure that TSAM could satisfy its customers in South Africa and across the African continent with a flexible production line for both right- and left-hand drive vehicles and for the first time manufacture a hybrid car in Africa.

TSAM’s manufacturing capacity for the Corolla Cross model is 30 000 units a year but 5 000 units are earmarked for export to 41 countries in the rest of Africa, he says.

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