The boss of Toyota Australia has pledged his company’s commitment to the local automotive industry at the unveiling of the Japanese car maker’s new petrol and hybrid engine plant in Melbourne.

Toyota Australia president and CEO Max Yasuda described the official opening of the new Altona engine plant as a landmark for the industry and one that was central to the manufacturer’s plan to transform its operations and build a more sustainable business.

“The new engine plant is a significant milestone for Toyota Australia,” Yasuda said. “It enables us to maintain our workforce and further develop our technologies, skills and products so we can continue building engines and cars in Australia for many years to come.

“We are now one of only four countries in the world to produce the AR four cylinder engine and are the first Australian car manufacturer to produce petrol-electric hybrid engines.”

The Altona engine plant is the result of a $330 million co-investment program, which includes $63 million from the Federal Government and additional support from the Victorian Government.

Yasuda praised the governments’ “strong desire” to see more advanced car-making technologies introduced to Australia, encouraging a deepening of the relationship between the two.

“An ongoing partnership between local car makers, the government and suppliers is fundamental for ensuring Australian industry can compete,” he said.

Yasuda’s acknowledgement comes around one week after Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux called on the federal government and opposition to settle their differences and agree to support the local automotive industry ahead of what he believes will be a defining year in 2013.

Toyota has officially committed to building cars in Australia until at least 2017, and Yasuda says the construction of a new engine plant is “at the heart of” the company’s local manufacturing strategy.

“I am a true believer in local car making. We are working to create a new, stronger business that gives us a competitive advantage that is sustainable and profitable for the future.”

From the start of full-scale production on January 14, the Altona plant will build around 108,000 2.5-litre four-cylinder engines per year at a rate of 450 per day for its locally produced Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid models. Standard petrol engines are expected to account for 85 per cent of production, while the hybrid units will make up the remaining 15 per cent. Toyota Australia will export roughly 16,200 engines each year to Malaysia and Thailand, with the remainder to be fitted to vehicles to be sold in domestic and export markets.

The new 2.5-litre engine is more powerful and more fuel efficient than the 2.4-litre engine it replaces. The new Camry uses 11 per cent less fuel than its predecessor while the Camry Hybrid is 13 per cent more efficient – the latter consuming 5.2 litres per 100km on the combined cycle and emitting 121g/km CO2.

The new Altona facility replaces the original engine plant, which became Toyota’s first engine manufacturing plant outside of Japan when it opened in 1978.

  • Shak

    CA, no mention of the fact that Toyota have hinted at a third model line joining the Camry and Aurion at Altona? I have read elsewhere that the head of Toyota Australia dropped a few veiled references as to the possibility of the new Rav-4 being made in Australia as it will use the Camry engines and shares some underpinnings. 

    • Mark

      close, I think it will be the hilux! the demand for them in australia is high and the fact the most popular is the SR5 which is the high spec will bring decent GP for local production. the demand in Australia is about 40 000 units per year which will really help bring the altona plant up to capacity and lets face it any manufacturing in Australia that is at or near max capacity is a good thing.

      • Shak

        I’m simply going off of what i’ve heard and read. Although it would make sense purely from a volume standpoint to make the Hilux here, it would push the cost of the Ute up much higher. Aussie labour is expensive. The Camry  based Rav-4 would make more sense as it requires less new tooling and mechanical bits to be sourced. 

  • F1orce

    Would be pretty interesting to see Toyota being the only manufacturer in Australia..

    • Sumpguard


      • Guest

        Why is toyota manufacturing in australia thriving and the other two failing?

        • Dfgfd

          If Toyota manufacturing in Australia was “thriving” the, CEO would not be saying they need to “transform its operations and build a more sustainable business.” Nor would they be getting a $63 Million handout from the government.

          • JooberJCW

            Agree, should be reworded to expanding

          • Guess

            If they were not thriving then why the hell are they expanding?! Are you fanboys of holden and ford? i bet! Your uncle knows better than this. Toyota is doing it right. Also governments money is aimed at saving manufacturing in AU n that includes toyota.

          • Fdghfg

             Guess, who says they are expanding? The article does not say anywhere that there is any kind of expansion. This new factory merely replaces a old one and they probably wouldn’t have bothered without a $63Million donation from the government.

        • JamesB

          It’s quite simple. Toyota makes quality vehicles while the other two, not quite.

        • Mark

          because toyota actually has money to invest and the other 2 have no exports.

  • Asdfawef

    It’s good that the engines are made in Aus. But if I were to buy a Camray 2.5L 4cyl, I’d prefer the engine in the car to be made in Jpn (probably better quality). But that’s just me.

    • Zaccy16

      yeah i totally agree, the only reason anyone would by a camry would be for reliable but it being built here defeats the purpose

    • V8car

      Makes me wonder what you do for a living, does a Japanese worker in the same line of work as you is better at his job then you.

    • Leet


      have you visited the Altona plant? go sign up for one of those day tours…. its very japanese “run” plant. 

  • Andrews

    The new locally built hybrid engine at 5.2l/100km would have to be most fuel effient ever made in Australia. Ford and Holden have nothing that comes even close in this class of car. The recently released sales figures show if they can’t get their act together soon there will be only manufacturer left in Australia and it won’t be Ford or GM Holden.

    RAV4 production in Australia would make sense. Built on Camry platfrom, same 2.5l engine and rumors of a hybrid using the locally produced engine.

    They could export them to Japan.

    • JooberJCW

      Toyota is in a prime position to stay in Australia, because there is massive demands for the Toyota brand in Asia, Its been Ford and GM’s fault over the decades gone by to snub the asian market (lack of strong investment) and now they are paying the price as the asian economy is going to strength to strength.

      • eveready

        Dunno about that.

        Toyota certainly have strength in the Sth East
        Asia market, but Ford has been invested heavily in the region for years, particularly
        Thailand where they are one of the largest manufacturers within that country.

        Also – GM outsell Toyota 3 to 1 in China.  With Toyota sales in fact going backwards
        recently.  Toyota sales dropped by 23% in
        recent months while GM’s rose by 10% – on the back of recent anti-Japanese
        sentiment.  But GM has a much longer and bigger
        presence in China then Toyota.

        • Leet

          its politically instigated why Toyota is doing mediocre in China… protesters are attacking japanese made cars for instance… for political reasons.


    • eveready

      Toyota would struggle to stay viable in Australia if both
      Ford & Holden – or if either one of them closed.  The knock on effect on suppliers – which all
      three rely on would be significant.  Closures
      or decreased volume in this base would push costs up for any remaining OEM.


      Toyota are doing better here at the moment – but don’t
      forget they recently made 350 people redundant at Altona at the start of the


      Also – remember Toyota have a consolidated product line, so that
      means they build Camry’s and can build Aurion’s in at least 5 other plants in
      the world.

      This is both good and bad – as it means Toyota AU can more
      simply and quickly tool up their plant to build alternative models, but on the
      flip side as soon as Australia is no longer cost competitive, or government
      incentives dry up they can easily pull the plug here and not impact their supply
      as they can just source from an overseas plant.


      But I congratulate Toyota for some great news – the industry
      certainly needs it.  Let’s hope people
      support a hi-tech local product by buying Hybrid Camry’s.

      • Leet


        which is why government needs to support local manufacturers either by:
        – stepping in and putting a “cap” on the australian dollar, other countries do this to help their exporting but australia we are free-balling because other sectors want to pull in extra cash. But long term it hurts the entire manufacturing industry.

        – enforce other OEMs selling many cars and making much money from Australians to establish more local based operations (accessory design/installations, allow local subsidiary to install local made parts (tyres, wheels, seatbelts etc)

        – establish new policies that help give incentives to the mother OEMs to produce cars locally by decreasing import tax on other vehicles. (eg Toyota gets less tax on the imported Corolla because they manufacture in Oz etc)

      • JooberJCW

        Mmm I believe that if local parts suppliers close down, Toyota would just import parts from overseas . given australias ties with china it could be very cost effective and beneficial to the intercontinental trade partnership

  • Mugillaa

    Trade agreement with japan, thats all

    • Letsbhavingu

      It’s interesting don’t you think……
      Why is Toyota doing well ? They work with suppliers for a win win,unlike Ford & Holden whom continue to grind on costs and make suppliers go broke ask Autodom and the others that have shut their doors.
      Why is Toyota doing well…collaboration with industry,governments,suppliers,community.

      Yet whilst the Gillard clan pump $ into Auto one needs to ask will this create more sales ? No! Only reduces the chance of the OEM not walking away.As Thailand,China,USA governments pump x4 the amount into their industry.

      Ask your government do they all drive a Holden,Ford or Toyota…….or VW,Audi,BMW,?

      Also Free Trade Agreements who wins who losses ?

      • Guest

        Unfortunately holden and ford big cars are associated with being Australian – lots of patriotic aussies would readily defend themselves and attack toyota just because their own identity brands are failing. Basically being sour grapes.

        Face the facts and give up your false pride – these companies are not australian. They are american! Stop pumping our tax dollars into something thats doomed to fail!

  • Zaccy16

    ford need to build the nest gen mondeo instead of falcon, will be nearly the same size as falcon and will save ford locally

    • twincharger

      Dont think a large front wheel drive sedan would out sell Falcon.The Ranger should be on the radar of Ford AU.

      • Sydlocal

         Really? The Camry has been out-selling the Falcon for quite a while now… 😉 😉

        • Karl Sass

          It’s the only mid/large FWD that sells well. Mitsu 380 anyone?

          • Fdghfg

             The 380 was averaging around 1000 a month during 2006-2007. About the same as Falcoone has been doing for the last two years.

  • James

    You’re all wrong. Toyota loses money on cars it makes in Australia. The only thing that makes Toyota Aust. profitable are import sales.