Importing Toyotas to Japan may seem like selling ice to the Eskimos, but that's precisely what's in store. In fact, it's Toyota itself that will be bringing the Avensis back to its home market from its global assembly plant in the UK.
Demand for European cars in Japan has got Toyota cashing in on the game, exporting as many as 750 units of the Avensis back to the home country. Since the Avensis holds a similar position to the JDM Toyota Mark X, which is available only as a sedan, Toyota will only be offering the Avensis wagon back in Japan, packing a 2.0-liter four mated to a CVT.
Japan, of course, will only be the latest market in which the British-built Avensis will be sold, joining a list of 47 countries worldwide to which some 85% of the units built at the Derbyshire plant are exported. Unfortunately, the United States isn't one of 'em, so for those who may want a closer look, we've put together a fresh high-res image gallery for your viewing pleasure.
UK TO EXPORT BRITISH-BUILT TOYOTAS TO JAPAN
The Toyota Avensis, built exclusively at Toyota's UK factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, is to be exported to Japan. The launch of the third-generation Avensis in Toyota's "home" market later this year further strengthens the performance of the UK plant, which already ships the model to 47 countries worldwide.
The news has been welcomed by the Government as an endorsement of British manufacturing skills and quality. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Toyota exports 85 per cent of the car and engines it makes at its UK plants in Burnaston and Deeside. Today's news that it will now export its Avensis model to Japan is a tribute to the skills of the workforce, the efficiency of the plants and the quality of its products. I was delighted to meet Fujio Cho, Chairman of Toyota when I visited Japan recently and I highlighted the importance of manufacturing in the UK."
Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd Managing Director Katsunori Kojima said: "We are very proud that the Avensis has been selected for export to Japan. This is yet another vote of confidence for the factory and the high quality of our products."
Demand for European styling and engineering from Japanese customers has prompted Toyota's decision to introduce Avensis to the home market. The Tourer estate car versions will be offered, powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine with Multidrive S continuously variable transmission (CVT) for fuel efficient, low emissions performance. The cars will be shipped from the UK at a rate of 750 vehicles a month with production commencing in July.
The Toyota Avensis was introduced in 1997. By the end of 2010, more than 1.8 million Avensis vehicles had been built – all at Burnaston – for sale in the UK, Europe and other markets worldwide.
Together with Toyota's other European production centres, the UK factory has succeeded in returning quickly to the production levels and operating hours that were in place prior to the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March. The additional exports to Japan will reinforce its performance and its position as one of Toyota's most efficient and advanced factories. The factory also builds Auris hatchback models and has the distinction of being the first factory in Europe to mass produce a full hybrid model, the Auris Hybrid. To date Toyota has invested over £1.85 billion in its UK manufacturing operations since being established in 1992.