Toyota Initiates Corolla Production in China

May 29, 2007
Keisuke Ogawa, Nikkei Automotive Technology
The new Chinese version of the Corolla
The new Chinese version of the Corolla
[Click to enlarge image]
Rear view. Compared to the Japanese version, which kept the total width less than 1,700 mm so the vehicle can be registered as a compact car in Japan, the Chinese version has boosted the width by 65 mm to 1,760 mm.
Rear view. Compared to the Japanese version, which kept the total width less than 1,700 mm so the vehicle can be registered as a compact car in Japan, the Chinese version has boosted the width by 65 mm to 1,760 mm.
[Click to enlarge image]

Toyota Motor Corp. has announced it started production of the new "Corolla" sedan in China on May 28, 2007. Production started at Plant No.3 built by Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (TFTM), a joint venture formed by Toyota and China FAW Group Corp. (FAW), in the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Zone, China.

The new plant's production capacity is 200,000 vehicles per year. Equipped with cutting-edge facilities, such as a painting line, which employs water-based paints, and a welding process, which adopts the Global New Body Line (GBL) system that uses less jigs compared to existing systems, the plant has reportedly combined high quality manufacturing with environmental consideration. Approximately 3.6 billion Chinese yuan (61.2 billion yen at 16 yen per yuan) was invested to build the plant, which has created close to 1,700 new jobs. The new Corolla will be marketed through about 260 TFTM dealers across China.

Since it started producing the "VIOS" compact sedan at Plant No.1 in October 2002, TFTM has produced a total of four models, namely the previous Corolla, "Crown" and "REIZ" ahead of the abovementioned new Corolla, its fifth production model. Following the Plant No.3's production start, TFTM's overall production capacity has risen to 420,000 vehicles per year.

Unlike the Japanese version based on the old "MC (medium compact) platform," the Chinese version new Corolla has adopted the "new MC platform," on which the "Auris" and "Blade" are based

Toyota's President Katsuaki Watanabe attended a line-off ceremony held at the plant and said, "The TFTM Plant No.3 reflects the steady development of the joint venture between FAW and Toyota. The new Corolla represents a higher level of product appeal and I hope that it will be well received by Chinese customers."