Toyota South Africa will invest R1,7 billion in an export plan that will see the manufacturer building bakkies for the rest of Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

According to , 60 000 light commercial vehicles will be built a year for export. To start with, there’ll be exports of 800 units a month for Australia, later increasing to more than 1 500 units.

The plan was announced at a function on Tuesday to mark the arrival of the first South African-built Corollas in Australia. Greg Gardner, a manager at Toyota Australia, said the first 52 Corollas had arrived in Western Australia, and would go on sale next Tuesday.

Toyota SA chief executive Johan van Zyl said the Prospecton plant in Durban and the harbour would need infrastructure improvements. “Among the projects being implemented is what we call the ‘export bridge’ that provides direct access to a bulk distribution yard and railhead,” he said.

“This project is supported by the eThekwini Municipality as part of its urban renewal programme and support for industry in the Durban area and has a budgeted cost of R11 million. In Durban harbour a vehicle export terminal is under construction to provide a holding area and to streamline loading. We hope to become the Toyota plant of choice for global markets for Toyota of Japan," Van Zyl said.

CARtoday.com reported on Tuesday that South African-built Toyota Corollas could be exported to Europe by 2006. A report at the weekend in the suggested that the Toyota Motor Corporation planned to export 30 000 Corollas assembled in South Africa to Europe annually by 2006.

According to , the decision to build Corollas in SA for the European market as well as for export to Australia is due to Toyota's UK operations having reached full capacity, with the need to source more vehicles from elsewhere.

Original article from Car