The first shipment of South African-built Toyota RunX cars for the Australian market will leave port before the end of this month, Toyota SA chairman Elisabeth Bradley said this week.

The first shipment of South African-built Toyota RunX cars for the Australian market will leave port before the end of this month, Toyota SA chairman Elisabeth Bradley said this week.

Bradley told that 8 000 Toyotas were expected to be sent to Australia this year, with further increases in the years to come. Toyota SA will primarily export RunXs, although other Corolla models would also be shipped.

Toyota SA did not expect its export programme to be affected by the strengthening of the rand, because “decisions of this sort were made on a long-term basis,” Bradley added.

"This is our first dedicated programme, targeting global quality standards," she said. "It did require a massive upgrade, which is very visible in the current Corolla."

Bradley said the success of the Toyota’s programme would be measured by the inability of Australian motorists to distinguish between Corollas built in SA and those imported from Japan.

"Japan will still be supplying Corollas to Australia," she said.

Toyota SA would also be one of five Toyota subsidiaries that would benefit from a new global bakkie export programme, and the hope was that this would lead to export business involving components as well as fully built-up units.

As CARtoday.com reported recently, Toyota SA expects to export 12 000 to 15 000 units next year, rising to around 80 000 units a year in 2007. Toyota SA’s export markets are expected to expand beyond Australia to Europe in the not-too-distant future.

Original article from Car