No fresh investment in manufacturing of battery electric cars in Britain will not be made by the Japanese car giant Toyota until at least the mid-2030s. That announcement was a blow to the aims of the United Kingdom that its car industry will lead the path in the government’s efforts to shift away from conventional to clean energy vehicles.
The only option being considered by the company for its next round of investment at the company’s plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, will be in hybrid cars containing both internal combustion engines and battery-powered motors, said Johan van Zyl, the chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe.
In 2027m, the manufacturing of the Corolla at Burnaston is due to end and no decision on investing in the plant after that time has not yet been taken by Toyota. That essentially means that Toyota will not make any zero-emissions cars in the UK until 2034 at the earliest which is an estimate that is based on the usual seven-year product cycles that his followed by Toyota.
On the other hand however, the company is also all set to launch multiple zero-emission battery electric vehicles in the countries that have the strictest emission rules. This will also include the UK where the government has announced plans of banning all hybrid vehicles by 2035.
The continuation of production of hybrid vehicles fitted with internal combustion engines at Burnaston will also result in a boost in employment at the other factory of Toyota in the UK – an engine making unit at Deeside. However, the future of both the factories of Toyota in the UK as well as those of other companies such as BMW’s Hams Hall engine factory could become unsure in case the companies decide not to make investment in them to develop technology for zero–emission vehicles.
Production of the Corolla hatchback was started by Toyota at the factory at Burnaston in January 2019 following an investment of £240m investment in it in 2017. That investment was welcome from all quarter back then bit the assessment of the company of new trading system after Brexit will form the basis of future investments by the company in the UK.
“By 2027, when this Corolla’s life cycle comes to an end, I think it will be not possible to produce a zero-emissions vehicle there,” Van Zyl said. “Therefore it will have to be a hybrid technology vehicle.”
There are barely weeks to go before the UK formally leaves the single market of the EU and there is still no deal on trade between the two trading partners, referring to which Van Zyl warned that the UK and the EU will both suffer if there is a no-deal Brexit.
While mentioning that Toyota was “still committed to the UK”, Van Zyl also highlighted uncertainty about trade that is still continuing which includes issues such as the rules of origin which is the determinant of whether cars built with imported parts will pay tariffs.
“The message [to the UK and EU] is very simple: we need a deal,” he said. “And that deal must be frictionless. It must be duty-free, and the regulatory framework must be harmonised. And if there’s no deal, it will be harmful for both sides, UK and EU.”
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)