French Toyota Plant Turns Out One Million Cars

Plant had third production shift, a first for Toyota.

Toyota's auto plant in northern France has turned out the one millionth sub-compact Yaris model less than six years since it began operations, Toyota France president Didier Leroy said Dec. 12.

Leroy said the performance, a first for Toyota, was largely the result of a third production shift introduced a year ago, another first for the Japanese company.

The plant in Valenciennes-Onnaing makes all the Yarises sold in Europe -- Japanese factories produce those sold elsewhere in the world -- and now turns out 1,150 a day with a staff of 3,950 employees.

Leroy said the site showed "it is possible to be profitable in western Europe, even in one of the most competitive segments of the automobile market." He explained the plant's success by "a high level of integration on the site and a recruitment policy based on the search for personalities that demonstrate the desire to contribute to a team effort."

Toyota is enjoying success worldwide, with record profit of more than 10 billion euros (US$13.2 billion) expected at the end of the fiscal year in March, and maybe also the prize of leading global automaker ahead of General Motors.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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