Toyota's expansion could herald car investment boom

The Government is hoping to attract a string of Japanese and American car component firms into the UK following Toyota's confirmation yesterday that it is to double production at its Deeside engine plant through a pounds 150m investment creating 310 jobs. Michael Harrison reports.

Trade and industry officials are confident of attracting fresh inward investment into the motor industry in the wake of the Toyota expansion in North Wales. Negotiations on a number of projects are thought to be at an advanced stage.

The Welsh Development Agency is ready to offer Ford an aid package to build engines for the new X400 baby Jaguar at its Bridgend plant in South Wales.

There are also hopes that the increase in production at Nissan's Sunderland plant to 300,000 cars a year with the introduction of a third model will tempt more suppliers of heavy, high-value components such as transmissions to set up in the UK.

Japanese car firms have now invested pounds 3.7bn in UK manufacturing facilities, creating 10,000 jobs. The latest Toyota expansion brings its UK investment to pounds 1.5bn. However, Britain has only been partially successful in attracting component firms. Only nine of Japan's 20 largest component suppliers have manufacturing operations in the UK.

The expansion of the Deeside site will double its output of engines to 400,000 a year and include a new castings plant. Negotiations are still going on over the level of aid Toyota will receive, although it is expected to be less than pounds 3m. The increase in engine production will enable it to supply both the Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire and the new small car assembly plant Toyota is building in Valenciennes, northern France.

According to some estimates, the new small car, based on the existing Starlet model, will contain up to 50 per cent British content.

The Deeside investment will take its workforce in North Wales to 600. By the time Burnaston begins production of a second model, the Corolla, late this year, the workforce there will have reached 3,000.

Speaking in Japan after meeting Hiroshi Okuda, the president of Toyota, the Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "It shows yet again the continuing confidence people have in the UK economy."

Margaret Beckett, President of the Board of Trade, who is on a trade mission to the Far East, said that following Jaguar's decision to build the X400 at Halewood, Toyota's announcement was "further endorsement of the UK as the number one location for automotive investment in Europe".

Officials deny that the strength of the pound or Britain's decision to stay out of the European single currency is deterring inward investors, pointing out that the UK continues to attract 40 per cent of all Japanese investment into the European Union.

Total Japanese investment in the UK stands at pounds 31bn out of a total inward investment stock of pounds 140bn.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Direct Marketing Manager - B2C, Financial Services - Slough

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas