The Japanese manufacturer will produce a small SUV at its site near Valenciennes, which already manufactures the Yaris. The result is an investment of 100 million euros and 400 hires on permanent contracts.

The Japanese automobile giant Toyota likes France. Tuesday, January 14, the second world manufacturer announced the production of a second vehicle in its factory in Onnaing (North), in the suburbs of Valenciennes, where the Yaris is already manufactured. The car will be a small SUV (“sport utility vehicle”, looking like an urban 4 × 4), competing with the Peugeot 2008 or the Renault Captur. Neither the name of the model nor the production calendar are, for the moment, known, even if, in the North, a start is hoped this year.

What is certain, however, is that the decision is accompanied by an investment of 100 million euros, which is in addition to the 300 million already spent on the production of the fourth generation Yaris, launched in May 2019. The factory will employ 400 additional people on permanent contracts, increasing the number of permanent contracts to 3,600, who will be recruited mainly from the company’s approximately 1,000 fixed-term contracts. The total workforce of the site will reach a total of 4,500 people.

What is also acquired is that this future Toyota SUV will be equipped with a hybrid engine, a specialty of the Japanese manufacturer. “This technology is our number one asset,” recalls Eric Moyere, director of communications for the Onnaing site. For the Yaris 4, we predict that 80% of production will be in a hybrid version. No doubt, for the future SUV, this ratio will be as important.”

An ambition to produce 300,000 vehicles per year

The news was highly hoped for in the Valenciennois, because it perpetuates the factory. “Our ambition to produce 300,000 vehicles per year can thus become a reality,” says Luciano Biondo, the director of Toyota Motor Manufacturing France, who manages the site. The production of this new model will allow the site not to be dependent on the commercial life cycle of a single model, thus reinforcing the stability of the workforce over time.”

This choice is also the logical continuation of the decision, announced at the beginning of 2018, to manufacture in the Hauts-de-France the latest generation of the Yaris on a new industrial platform called “TNGA” (Toyota New Global Architecture), which required a factory overhaul. It is also on this basis that the future SUV will be produced. It must be said that several good fairies had then looked at the future of the factory. Emmanuel Macron himself went to Onnaing to make the announcement. He was accompanied by Didier Leroy, vice-president of Toyota, in charge of competitiveness, planning and industrial operations, the group’s unofficial number two.

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