Toyota resumes production at Durban plant, as talks over new supplier park are fast-tracked

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Toyota's plant in Durban manufactures its Hilux, Fortuner and Corolla Quest models.
Toyota's plant in Durban manufactures its Hilux, Fortuner and Corolla Quest models.
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  • Toyota SA has resumed production at its plant in Durban after its Japanese parent company expressed concern about its SA investment to the local municipality.
  • The municipality met with company representatives and says discussions about the construction of the new Automotive Supplier Park had been "accelerated". 
  • Toyota says it has had "positive engagement with national government in particular".

Toyota has resumed production at its plant in Durban on Tuesday, a company spokesperson confirmed - after the company had fruitful talks with national and local governments.

Toyota's Prospecton plant in Durban was not damaged during the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, but it was forced to close operations since 12 July due to unrest in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

Last week the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), headquartered in Japan, wrote a letter to the eThekwini municipality, asking what its action plan was given the uncertainty created by the unrest in the province. 

While Toyota indicated that it does not intend to walk away from its investment in the province, the unrest left it feeling "very uncertain about the future of its business" in KZN.

On Tuesday, company representatives met with the municipality, which issued a statement to say that bot parties "committed to safeguard the investment of Toyota and other businesses in Durban".

"We are also accelerating discussions about the construction of the new Automotive Supplier Park which is going to be a catalyst for job creation and business opportunities. We have a long-standing relationship with Toyota and we are pleased that the company has committed itself to remain in Durban and most importantly to expand its investment," the municipality added.

For its part, Toyota said that it had "positive engagement with national government in particular and that this has gone a long way to allay the fears and short-term concerns that TMC expressed".

Toyota's plant in Durban manufactures its Hilux, Fortuner and Corolla Quest models.

From November 2021, it will start manufacturing Corolla Cross, a small SUV. The plant, which employs 7 200 people, also assembles HiAce and Hino trucks. The local company is also in the final stretch of preparing for the launch of its first locally produced new energy vehicle later this year. The aim is to demonstrate its ability to produce other alternative energy vehicles in Durban. 

Toyota SA expects sales to drop by as much as 10% in July due to lost production amid the unrest.

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