Business secretary Lord Mandelson was on hand to announce the shock news, in what is a significant advance for the hi-tech factory.
Until now, hybrid Toyota Prius have had to be imported across from Japan. By adding the Auris full hybrid model, Toyota can make them here in the UK, too – which means the factory has a bright future.
Indeed, Toyota reckons the company’s future is in hybrid technology, and wants to introduce it into as many vehicles as possible. The UK thus has a head-start, with the development of the hybrid family hatch.
The car will be on sale as soon as mid-next year. What’s more, the engines are also to be made in the UK, at the firm’s Welsh production plant.
‘This is a welcome and forward-looking investment in Britain from a world class manufacturer,’ said Lord Mandelson.
‘As part of our low-carbon industrial strategy, we set out to make Britain the best place in the world to develop low-carbon vehicles.
‘These commitments, backed by the formidable skills of the UK automotive workers, enable companies like Toyota to invest with confidence in low-carbon car production in the UK.
‘It demonstrates that the UK’s car industry is already making the low carbon transition.’
‘With today’s announcement,’ said Tadashi Arashima, CEO and president of TME, ‘Toyota has taken a significant step forward in ensuring that full hybrids become more accessible to a wider range of customers.
‘Our decision to produce a full hybrid in the UK reflects both our confidence in the quality and commitment of the TMUK workforce and the strength of our long-standing partnership with the UK Government.’
Already, Toyota has made 370,000 Auris since its launch in 2007. With the new hybrid version, that total is set to grow big in the future – with, at last, the UK playing a leading role in the new car’s introduction.