Toyota Turkey has become Toyota's highest producing facility in Europe, Toyota Turkey CEO Hiroshi Kato said yesterday, informing that they exported to the U.S. for the first time in their history with their C-HR project.
Kato said in the light of these developments, 2017 was a turning point. In 2018, Toyota Turkey will maintain its positive impact on Turkey's foreign trade and its overall export targets with exports carried out parallel to the company's production volume and capacity utilization rate, he added.
The CEO also said in a statement that the total number of vehicles they have produced since they commenced production exceeded 2 million. He explained that with the impact of the Toyota-C-HR project, which was put into action last year with an investment of around $400 million, the facility has reached its highest production value at full capacity for the first time in its history.
"With this, we have become the Toyota facility with the highest production volume in Europe," he said.
Citing they have exported models they have manufactured to around 100 countries, Kato said they have exported to the U.S., Canada and Taiwan for the first time. Seventy-four percent of exports were made to Europe, 20 percent to North America and 6 percent to other countries, he added. Toyota also has production facilities in other European countries such as France, the Czech Republic, Portugal, the U.K. and Russia.
He said that the exports to countries in the North American market started last year with the addition of Turkey's first hybrid and SUV model Toyota C-HR to the production range.
"Thus, North America has become our biggest market after Europe. The most remarkable development in 2017 was the addition of the new countries in the North American market such as the U.S. and Canada to our export markets with the C-HR model. As of the end of last year, we started exporting to Mexico. The C-HR hybrid version has become the most in- demand model in all the markets we exported to as well as in our country," he said.
Recalling that with the start of a three-shift production time in 2016, the factory employed about 2,000 new employees for the Toyota C-HR, Kato said that they started to hire new employees and that they focused on their training.
He said that with the new hires, the total number of employees in the factory exceeded 5,000. He also said that they plan to have a production and export performance in 2018 similar to that of 2017.
"We will carry out our production at full capacity in 2018, as well, and export nearly 90 percent of production around the world," Kato said, adding that while Toyota Turkey continues to contribute to the economy and community, it will continue operations with the high-quality vehicles it produces to gain recognition as one of Toyota's best.
"We will continue to work on a global basis with the desire and determination to further develop our superior production capabilities for both model renewal and new models in 2018. We will also continue to invest in modernization and renovation that the automotive industry has always needs," he said.
Recalling that Turkey surpassed its export target for 2017, reaching its second-highest annual export level in history, Kato said it was a great source of pride and happiness that Toyota Turkey made a significant contribution to the Turkish automotive industry during the brilliant period the industry experienced in terms of production and exports in 2017.