Toyota in Europe
Since the early 1960’s Toyota’s presence in Europe has grown and changed, keeping pace with the changing vehicle tastes and requirements of the European public.
Toyota first began selling cars in Europe under an official distributor agreement in 1963. Since then, the company has matured into the leading Japanese car manufacturer in this highly competitive market. Toyota has invested over 7 billion euros throughout Europe since 1990 and currently employs approximately 93,400 people, both directly and through retailer channels. Toyota’s operation in Europe is supported by a network of 31 National Marketing and Sales Companies representing 56 countries, approximately 2,700 sales outlets and nine manufacturing plants in seven countries. As an important player in Europe, Toyota continues to grow, both geographically and in terms of market share – with the goal of putting its customers first.
An expanding network and family, Toyota believes in a policy of localisation, adapting its vehicles to meet the specific needs of Europe’s varied customers. This means the company’s operations in Europe – be they manufacturing, research and development or marketing – are generally located within the continent to serve the local market.
The first Toyota vehicles to be made in Europe were produced under licence in Portugal in 1971. In 1992, Toyota began full production of cars and engines in the UK with the introduction of the Carina E. A new Toyota facility in France began producing the Yaris in 2001. In April 2002, Toyota opened a new plant in Poland to build transmissions.
Also in 2002, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey (TMMT), located in Adapazari, established itself as a major strategic manufacturing centre for Corolla vehicles, which are now exported to European countries and beyond. Toyota’s diesel engine plant in Jelcz-Laskowice, Poland, began operations in 2005 as did the new vehicle manufacturing plant in Kolin, Czech Republic, which is a joint venture between Toyota Motor Corporation and PSA Peugeot Citroën. Toyota’s expansion in Europe continued with the start of production at the new manufacturing plant in Russia in 2007.
All of Toyota’s best-selling European models – AYGO, Yaris, Auris, Avensis and Corolla Verso – are built in Europe. In fact, around two-thirds of Toyotas sold in Europe are made in Europe by Europeans.