TOKYO -- Toyota aims to ramp up production rapidly at a new factory in the Czech Republic it owns jointly with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen after its spring 2005 opening, a senior Toyota executive said.
"We'd like to come up to full usage as soon as possible" at Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile, said Yoshio Ishizaka, Toyota's executive vice president in charge of overseas operations.
He said that "full usage" currently means two shifts, but added, "we will try" to go to a three-shift operation "if everything is OK, and Czech labor laws allow us to do so."
All-new small car
Ishizaka added that Toyota and PSA would have to negotiate the question of whether to go to three shifts.
The joint-venture plant in Kolin, 60km east of Prague, will have the capacity to produce 300,000 cars a year on two shifts. How much a third shift would add is unclear.
Initial work is expected to be completed by spring.
An all-new small car developed by the two companies will be built there. Toyota is in charge of production and development of the model, which will be smaller than the Japanese company's Yaris.
French production boost
Three models produced at the plant will be sold under the Peugeot, Citroen and Toyota brands. They will share the same platform and components but look different.
Ishizaka said that Toyota "probably will have to increase capacity" at its plant in Valenciennes, France, though this won't happen within the next two years.
Ishizaka also said that the European new-vehicle market five years from now likely will be more than 17 million units, up from 16.2 million in 2003. He said the growth will come from new countries joining the European Union.