Australia has launched its first hybrid engine plant facility in Altona, Melbourne, operated and managed by Toyota.
The $330-million engine plant will produce 108,000 four cylinder 2.5 litre engines annually for its locally built Camry and Camry Hybrid sedans, of which 15 per cent will be hybrid engines. Australia injected A$63 million to the new plant from its Green Car Innovation Fund.
The plant, according to Max Yasuda, Toyota Australia chief executive, is the first of its kind that is built outside Japan, making Australia one of only four countries able to manufacture the AR-series four-cylinder engines.
Moreover, the plant, built to replace the old one which was more than 30 years old, testifies to Toyota's commitment to maintain its presence in Australia, which it regards as a highly competitive, profitable and sustainable marketplace.
"An ongoing partnership between local car makers, the government and suppliers is fundamental for ensuring Australian industry can compete," Mr Yasuda said during the plant's inaugural on Thursday, as he noted that Toyota has committed to manufacturing cars in Australia until at least 2017.
"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."
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who was also present during the launch, said the plant's operations will definitely translate to more available jobs.
"We are one of the few countries in the world with the capabilities and skills involved in the manufacture of cars from the design stage right through to the production stage," Ms Gillard said.
"Our auto industry is a crucible of new skills and new technologies."
Standard petrol engines will comprise 85 per cent of Altona, Melbourne plant's production, while the hybrid units will make up the remaining 15 per cent, once it goes full-scale production on January 14. It will churn out approximately 450 engines per day.
Toyota Australia will export 16,200 engines each year to Malaysia and Thailand. The remainder will be sold in domestic and export markets.