Car-per-minute Czech plant for Toyota, PSA

31st January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PRAGUE, Jan 31 (AFP) - Toyota of Japan and French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen are to begin production at a joint-venture plant in the Czech republic on Feb 28, the head of the operation Masatake Enomoto said on Monday.

PRAGUE, Jan 31 (AFP) - Toyota of Japan and French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen are to begin production at a joint-venture plant in the Czech republic on Feb 28, the head of the operation Masatake Enomoto said on Monday.  

The plant, called TPCA and presented as one of the most efficient in the world, will be able eventually to produce 300,000 cars a year -- 200,000 for the Peugeot and Citroen brands and 100,000 for Toyota.  

The plant should roll out a car a minute when production reaches full speed.  

Costing around EUR1.3 billion (USD 1.69 billion), the factory near Kolin, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Prague, is one of the biggest foreign investments in central Europe so far, according to Czech investment agency CzechInvest.  

"We expect to reach full capacity within one year of the launch of commercial production. Compared to other car plants, ramping up production in one year is a very aggressive and challenging task," Enomoto said during a press conference at the plant.  

"I can imagine that the first cars will be on sale across Europe in May," he said.  

The cars are destined for the western European market. The price of the vehicles has not yet been announced.  

Enomoto told AFP that the two companies had managed to save 200 to 300 million euros on the original 1.5-billion euro planned cost owing to a favourable euro-yen exchange rate since the investment was first announced in 2001 as well as significant cost optimising.  

"The final value of the investment will be announced by the two parent companies in about one month but the savings have been significant," he said.  

TPCA vice president Jean Pierre Chantossel said that the plant would produce 1,100 cars a day once at full production capacity.  

"This will be one of the most efficient car plants in the world. A car will roll out of the plant each 60 seconds" he told AFP. This was 20 to 30 seconds faster than in PSA French plants, owing to the latest technology.  

"After 2006 we hope to even reach a production level of 320,000 cars annually," he added.  

Chantossel said that 70 percent of cars manufactured would be distributed by rail and the rest by road.  

"Eighty percent of all parts in terms of volume and value will be sourced in the Czech Republic, which was surprising for us," Chantossel told journalists, adding that 70 percent of the vehicles would be distributed by rail and the rest by road.  

Enomoto and Chantossel said that the outsourcing of parts and being close to clients were more important than comparatively low pay for workers in the choice of location.   "The big advantage of the site over Germany, France or Britain is logistics," Enomoto said.  

"We were not interested in building a car plant here for lower salaries alone. It is important to be close to clients in Europe which is why we chose central Europe. It is a big advantage that we are sourcing so many parts locally," he added.  

Chantossel said the plant would use around 150 suppliers altogether.  

Enomoto added that 40 Japanese companies had located to the Czech Republic since the investment was announced. Most of these were linked to the TPCA factory.   The vehicles are to be presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March.  

Earlier this month the two carmakers unveiled pictures of the three new models to be manufactured at the plant. The separately badged Peugeot 107, Toyota Aygo and Citroën C1 are to be manufactured on a single production line and are destined for the European market.  

The three models will be between 3.405 and 3.429 metres long, between 1.615 and 1.63 metres wide and between 1.465 and 1.470 metres high.  

TPCA already employs almost 1,700 people and by September 2005 that number should double to 3,000.  

Each worker in the new factory will work shifts of almost 10 hours a day, four days a week, and the factory will operate for six days of the week.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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