Toyota announced that its RAV4 compact SUV might be manufactured in Europe if there will be a continuous increase in this sector.
“It would certainly be a candidate,” said Robert Tickner, Toyota Europe’s head of product communications.
From 2008 to 2012 the compact SUV sector in the European market increased by 18%, certainly a bright spot amid the dramatic drops the other segments are still confronting with. Toyota predicts that the SUV segment will reach sales of 1.2 million this year, compared with 822,000 in 2011. The automaker plans to sell 100,000 RAV4 SUVs, accounting for around 9% of the segment.
Currently the model is manufactured at four plants located in Canada, China and Japan. Expanding in Europe, will give Toyota the possibility to reach its target of having 75% of the models sold in the region also built in the region, according to Jon Williams, president and managing director of Toyota GB.
“We want to get that to 75% with 90% of components sourced in the region,” said Williams.
The Yaris is Toyota’s best-sold vehicle in Europe and it is manufactured at Valenciennes in northern France. The second model is the Auris, which is produced in the UK, the third place being taken by the Aygo, which is built in the Czech Republic partnership with PSA Peugeot-Citroën.