Hybrid engine produced in Wales

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Toyota has announced that it has manufactured the first hybrid vehicle engine outside Japan, at its Deeside facility in North Wales.

The Japanese automaker built the 1.8 litre VVT-i petrol engine for the Auris Hybrid.

Toyota stated that the powerplant, which is integral to the Hybrid Synergy Drive system, is wholly produced at the North Wales facility. Raw aluminium is smelted and cast on-site, prior to machining, assembly and testing of the finished unit. The completed engines are then shipped to Toyota’s Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire for installation.

Toyota Manufacturing’s (TMUK) Deeside operation opened in 1992, principally to supply engines to Burnaston, which began production the same year. It currently has more than 500 people on site, working two shifts five days a week, building both the 1.8 engine for Auris Hybrid and Toyota’s 1.6 litre Valvematic petrol engine. In 2009 the Deeside plant produced 130,247 units.

Employees from the Deeside facility prepared for production by travelling to Toyota’s Shimoyama factory − the ‘mother plant’ for hybrid engines − to learn first-hand from their Japanese colleagues about the specific requirements of hybrid-engine manufacturing.

Richard Kenworthy, TMUK general manager for engine manufacturing, said: ‘This is the first time that a Toyota hybrid engine has been made outside Japan and we take great pride in having that opportunity.’