Toyota, unlike Renault or Peugeot who prefer to outsource the production of its Clio or 2008 abroad, has decided to strengthen its position in France.
The Japanese manufacturer announced on Tuesday that the Onnaing plant (North) will produce alongside the small Yaris, a new urban SUV whose neither the name nor the date of marketing have been announced.
For this factory, which opened in the late 1990s, this is obviously excellent news for the future. Toyota which had already announced in 2018 an investment of 300 million euros to modernize the site will devote an additional 100 million euros for the arrival of this vehicle which will be produced on the same line as the Yaris.
"The stability of the workforce strengthened over time"
The factory will also increase its workforce from 3,200 to 3,600 employees on permanent contracts by the end of 2020. For the launch of the new Yaris in mid-2020 and to prepare for the arrival of the SUV, 900 fixed-term contracts will be necessary . "The addition of a second vehicle will allow the site not to be dependent on the commercial life cycle of a single model, thus strengthening the workforce over time," said Luciano Biondo, president of Toyota France. .
In total, the Onnaing plant, which produced 224,000 vehicles last year, should be able to reach a capacity of 260,000 to 270,000 units. This site is practically on a par with the PSA factory in Mulhouse. Only the Peugeot factory in Sochaux with 515,000 vehicles in 2019 remains ahead.
For several years, Toyota, unlike Renault or Peugeot, has shown that it is possible to produce small cars in a hexagonal factory and to be growing. This has been done in particular since 2017 by company agreements allowing more flexibility in working time.
But above all, Toyota's strength is not to play on several tables at the same time. The Onnaing plant will remain the sole production site for the Yaris and for this SUV in Europe. "We expect these two models to account for 30% of Toyota's sales in Europe by 2025," said Toyota.
A trough in French production
This approach by Toyota comes as automobile production in 2020 is expected to drop by around 20% in France. The drop in sales in Europe should impact the factories of around 100,000 vehicles.
But above all, several vehicles, which until now were produced in French factories, will be relocated abroad. This is the case of the 2008 Peugeot which will take the direction of Vigo in Spain, of the 208 which moves to Morocco or the Clio, which left Flins for Turkey, or the Smart in Moselle, which passing to the electric motorization will see its production of a third.
In total, 1.7 million vehicles should leave the chains in France against 2.2 million in 2018. A situation that could jeopardize some production sites in France. At Renault, the unions have already sounded the alarm on the future of the Flins plant, which now produces only the Micra and the Electric Zoé, whose sales volumes are low.
In addition, with the industrial change with the drop in diesel sales in favor of electric vehicles, as it takes fewer people to make an electric vehicle than a thermal car, the Metallurgy Observatory estimates that 10,000 to 15,000 industrial stations are threatened by 2030 out of the 37,500 in the automotive diesel sector.