Why President Ramaphosa is so 'pleased' with Toyota SA's first Corolla Cross build

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• The first Corolla Cross rolled off Toyota's production line in Durban, Kwazulu-Natal.

• In attendance were several dignitaries, including President Cyril Ramaphosa.

• The Corolla Cross line-up will consist of two hybrid models.

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The first Toyota Corolla Cross rolled off the Japanese automaker's Prospecton plant in Durban, Kwazulu-Natal. The event was significant for Toyota South Africa as the Corolla Cross also heralds the first hybrid model to be locally produced.

The Corolla Cross Hybrid, when it goes on sale in November, will be the most affordable hybrid model in South Africa, coming in at a very aggressive R413 000. Five models will make up the Corolla Cross line-up, priced between R349 900 and R448 300. There will be two hybrid models on offer.

Toyota's local production portfolio comprises Hilux, Fortuner, Corolla Quest and Hi-ace at its Prospecton Plant. At the same time, selected Hino and Dyna models are produced as SKD or semi-knocked-down assemblies. Toyota South Africa was established 60 years ago and has become the leading automaker in South Africa.

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South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa (middle), flanked by Toyota SA president and CEO, Andrew Kirby (on his right) and others.


Big investments

Several dignitaries and stakeholders in the local automotive industry were in attendance when the first locally built Corolla Cross rolled off the production line. Among them were Toyota SA president and CEO Andrew Kirby and South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.

In his remarks, Kirby noted: "If you tally up the investments we've made in this plant spanning the last five years - of which Corolla Cross accounts for R2.6 billion, we arrive at a cumulative figure of over R6.5 billion. So, we are therefore committed to further developing and strengthening our business in South Africa and making a difference in the country, our communities, our suppliers, dealers, customers and of course in own employee's lives."

READ: Toyota Corolla Cross: What to know about SA's first locally-built hybrid vehicle

President Ramaphosa also addressed those in attendance: "I had called upon Japanese carmakers to strengthen their investment in South Africa. A few months later, at the second South Africa Investment Conference, Mr Andrew Kirby came up to the stage to announce Toyota's new investment (R2.6 billion).

I am particularly pleased to see that the announcement that was made has led to the creation of so many jobs - a total of 1 775 jobs made through the announcement of the investment (of the Corolla Cross production)."

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South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa
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