Toyota has marked the start of production of the 11th generation Corolla at its manufacturing plant in Sakarya, Turkey. The plant is the first to produce the new generation Corolla outside of Japan and the company has invested €150m ($194m) in the plant to accommodate its production. The Sakarya plant already produces the Verso.

Orhan Özer, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey (TMMT), said: “Today I am very pleased that we re-started to produce new generation Corolla, a milestone in Turkish automotive history. Today’s achievement has been made possible thanks to the joint efforts of our employees, suppliers and business partners. I would like to thank all those involved for their hard work and dedication and on this occasion I express my gratitude to TMC [Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan] and TME [Toyota Motor Europe].”

Parts are being supplied from 74 local suppliers in Turkey, as well as suppliers in Europe and Japan.

“Some new suppliers were selected for the project on top of existing suppliers or new facilities,” said a spokesperson for Toyota. Examples include Mubea, which built a new plant in Turkey to produce coil springs for the carmaker, and Toyota Boshoku, which built a new plant in Ducze to transfer existing cutting and sewing operations for seat fabric.

The spokesperson told Automotive Logistics News that parts are collected from the suppliers in Turkey by Reysas Logistics and that the company’s affiliate, Rey-line, transports parts by boat or rail from suppliers in Europe. “Collection within European suppliers is first done using our normal partners, including Gefco, Transfreight and Ceva,” confirmed the spokesperson.

In terms of exported vehicles, Turkey, Russia and Israel will account for 72% of output. The other main destinations are Egypt, Algeria, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Georgia. Within the European Union, Ireland, Poland and Finland are the main export markets.

“Regarding finished vehicles, they are shipped by vessel to Europe using UECC, Grimaldi, Neptune and EML, except for Caucasus and Balkan regions,” said the spokesperson. “Towards Russia, we are working on a Black Sea route but our selection of route and partner is not finalised yet [read more here]. Vehicles for Turkey are picked up by our local distributor, Toyota Turkey Marketing and Sales.”

Toyota said its decision to re-introduce Corolla production in Turkey was part of an overall reorganisation of its manufacturing allocation in Europe across two plants, Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) and TMMT, which was first announced in November 2011.

“We decided to centralise Auris production to the TMUK plant and later on we added the new Auris Touring Sports as well,” said the spokesperson. “This brings a simplification of Toyota’s production organisation for C-hatchback models in Europe, and it's increasing the production volumes at TMUK and maximizing plant utilisation there. Secondly, to replace Auris at TMMT, we decided to start building Corolla sedan there because that vehicle is sold mostly in Turkey, Israel, Russia and generally speaking towards the east of Europe, so logistically this made sense.

In 2014, total production at TMMT will reach 150,000 units, its full capacity. Toyota added that Turkey was a growing market, both economically and in terms of its car market, and long term it has a lot of potential to sustain production volumes of this type of vehicle.

Total investment at TMMT has now reached €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion).