AUTOMOTIVE Toyota’s newest passenger model is to be built in Durban The Toyota Corolla Cross to be built at the Prospecton Plant in Durban will generate around R 2.85-billion a year in local component purchases. Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) announced earlier this year that it would be manufacturing and selling the brandnew Corolla Cross... The model reveal, made by TSAM President and CEO Andrew Kirby at the annual State of the Motor Industry (SOMI) address in January, follows the company’s announcement in 2019 that it was investing R2.43-billion in the production of a new passenger vehicle in South Africa. “As announced at the Presidential Investment Summit in November 2019, Toyota pledged to invest R2.43-billion in the production of a new passenger model, and I am so pleased to say that we are making good on that promise. We will be manufacturing this very model [Corolla Cross] in both right- and left-hand drive… on schedule… for South Africa and the rest of Africa… right here at Prospecton! The Corolla Cross is based on the acclaimed new Corolla TNGA platform and will be built on our passenger car production line alongside the Corolla Quest,” says Kirby. _________________ Corolla Cross aims to build on the legacy of Hilux Toughness and will be exported to 43 countries in Africa. ________________ TSAM’s Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Manufacturing Support Group, Nigel Ward, adds that the manufacturing of the new model will also include the development of three new Tier 1 and a number of Tier 2 suppliers, which is a significant step towards the transformation of the automotive value chain. A significant milestone In addition to the investment, the local production of the Corolla Cross also ushers in a couple of “firsts” for TSAM’s manufacturing team at the Prospecton Plant. “This is a significant milestone for Toyota South Africa. It’s not often that we get to produce a brand-new body shape in our factory; plus, it is the very first time that we will be manufacturing a Hybrid model which I believe will fast become a very popular choice. And it’s the first time for us to manufacture using the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) – which allows us to keep up with global technology and trends,” says Ward.
AUTOMOTIVE From a skills and manufacturing point of view, TSAM believes that – besides being a crisis of unparalleled proportions – Covid-19 has inadvertently encouraged plant production teams to be more self-reliant. According to Ward, “Restriction on international travel _________________ Covid-19 has inadvertently encouraged plant production teams to be more self-reliant. ________________ due to Covid-19 necessitated that we rely on local expertise on many elements of the project instead of flying in engineers from Japan and Thailand. To ensure that we are on schedule to commence production in October, we have had to do a lot of things ourselves, in addition to receiving support virtually from Japan and Thailand on some occasions. In terms of strategy, Corolla Cross aims to build on the legacy of Hilux Toughness and will be exported to 43 countries in Africa. The new model is also expected to push Toyota export volumes to about 15-20% per annum. Toyota is projecting growth of 7% per annum in the SUV market in Africa – offering significant growth opportunities to expand production of this new model. With the Prospecton-built Hilux already dubbed “built for Africa” in some parts of the continent, the Corolla Cross has been strategically positioned to expand the local SUV line-up of Fortuner and C-HR. According to Kirby, "This is an ideal vehicle for our market. It provides an exceptional balance between drivability, roominess, comfort and high-tech features – truly a game-changing SUV. It combines everything you love about Corolla with the utilitarian and rugged aesthetics of a segment-leading SUV. Overall, the expectation is that the Corolla Cross will not only contribute significant sales towards the Toyota brand, but also accelerate the growth of the mini-SUV segment, increase the overall size of the passenger market in South Africa and give momentum to electrification technologies.” The project will generate more than 500 jobs at Toyota. Toyota has invested R2.43-billion in the Corolla Cross project. www.opportunityonline.co.za | 1