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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota Australia has announced a $123 million investment in its Victorian manufacturing operations, shoring up its presence on the local automotive scene until at least 2018.

The funding will support the production of a “major facelift vehicle” – the updated Toyota Camry – from 2015, and the expansion of its supplier development program over the next five years.

The Federal Government has contributed $23.6 million for its part in the co-investment package while the Victorian Government has chipped in an undisclosed amount.

The Federal Government will also invest $5 million in Toyota Australia’s $15 million supplier development program, helping accelerate the program to assist Australian companies that supply parts to the local manufacturer.

The co-investment deal comes on top of the Federal Government’s $200 million support package announced by industry minister Kim Car this morning that is designed to increase sales of Australian-made cars.

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Camry HL (left) and Camry H

Toyota Australia president and CEO Max Yasuda said local manufacturing was an “integral part” of his business and said today’s co-investment announcement was a “critical step in Toyota Australia’s transformation”.

“The investment ensures that Toyota Australia continues to build high quality vehicles for our local and overseas customers,” Yasuda said.

He said it was vital that Toyota Australia continued to have an ongoing partnership with governments to ensure the long-term viability of its local manufacturing operations.

“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward,” Yasuda said.

“This investment was secured due to the enormous effort undertaken by many people at Toyota Australia during the past 18 months and the critical support of the Victorian and Federal Governments.”

Toyota Australia will direct $108 million of its investment into the Altona vehicle assembly plant in Melbourne and the remaining $15 million into the supplier program over the next five years.

Toyota says it will build more than 100,000 Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion vehicles at Altona this year – with more than two-thirds of those to be exported, predominantly to the Middle East – as well as approximately 108,000 four-cylinder engines.

Toyota has sold 15,591 locally made cars in Australia so far this year, down 10 per cent on the same period in 2012, and trailing Holden (30,250) and Ford (16,984). Aurion sales have slumped 26 per cent to 3395 while Camry sales are down four per cent to 12,196.