1. About Us
  2. Toyota in Europe
  3. Our journey in Europe
  4. The 1990's

The 1990’s

Accelerating investment in manufacturing in Europe  
As we passed the milestone of 30 years in Europe, we committed major investments to establishing our own manufacturing facilities here. Through the 1990s we continued to focus on our business principles of building vehicles local to the markets where they will be sold. 

First European production centre

Speaking in London in 1989, then Toyota President Shoichiro Toyoda said: “Toyota will make the best possible effort to be accepted as a true British company and a European company at the earliest possible date.” A few weeks later, we confirmed our plans to build our first wholly owned and operated European production centre in Great Britain – Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) was born.  

Carina E for Europe

Around €3 billion was invested at the time to create a car plant in England and an engine facility in north Wales. Both came on stream in 1992. The first model to be built at the Burnaston factory in England was the Carina E (the E standing for Europe). Within six years TMUK was also producing Corolla hatchbacks and became the home of our new flagship model for Europe, the Avensis. It also achieved its target of procuring 80 per cent of its parts and services from European suppliers. 

Reorganised to the new business environment

To adapt to the changing business environment in Europe following the launch of the European Union in 1993, we started reorganising our sales, marketing, and engineering companies and our European offices under the umbrella of what is currently known as Toyota Motor Europe, headquartered in Brussels. Additional support facilities included an expanded parts hub, the Toyota Parts Center Europe (TPCE) and an accessory and service centre, both located in Belgium. In 1998, we opened a new showcase for our innovation and technology: Le Rendez-Vous Toyota, on the famous Champs-Elysées in Paris.(closed in October 2017).

New plants in the UK, Turkey and France

We strengthened the links between Toyota Motor Corporation and the businesses manufacturing and marketing our cars in Europe. TMUK was at the start of a new period of expansion. Further manufacturing capacity was added in 1994 with the founding of TOYOTASA (Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey today), a joint venture for the local production of Corolla. As our European sales passed the half million mark that year, we further increased our manufacturing capacity with the launch of production centres in Poland (for transmissions and engines), and Valenciennes, France (for production of the hugely successful Yaris).

Our first global eco-plant

Construction of Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) began in the 90s. It has continually improved its environmental performance and became our most sustainable factory in Europe and one of our global eco-plants that pioneer new and better environmental programmes. Launched as a “lean, clean industrial site for the 21st century that respects the environment”, it has introduced measures to progressively cut waste, reduce energy and water usage, and capture renewable energy, for example with a vast solar installation. The factory’s surroundings are nurtured to achieve natural diversity. 

The transformation is complete

By the turn of the century we had achieved a complete transformation. We had moved from being a niche, Far Eastern business exporting small numbers of vehicles to having a significant local presence as a business building cars, investing in jobs, training and facilities across the region. We were putting into practice our philosophy of local production and realising the benefits it can bring. These include improved quality, customer service and efficiency, as well as reduced impact on the environment. 

The 90s in Europe

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