Last locally-made Toyota rolls off the line

Everyone knew it was coming, but on October 3, 2017, it became official – the final locally-made Toyota rolled off the Altona production line.

The move ends more than half a century of Toyota manufacturing vehicles in Australia.

Approximately 3000 people attended a closing ceremony at the Altona plant, including current and former employees, suppliers, affiliate companies and officials from Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan.

Toyota Australia President Dave Buttner paid tribute to employees past and present for their ongoing commitment.

“It is you, our dedicated employees, who have built Toyota into Australia’s leading car company — the biggest-selling brand for 20 individual years, including the past 14 in a row,” Mr Buttner said.

Australia was the first country outside Japan to produce Toyota cars, starting with the Tiara in 1963 at a factory in Port Melbourne, now the site of the company’s corporate headquarters. Other famous nameplates to be produced locally include Crown, Corona and Corolla.

Camry — built at Port Melbourne from 1987 and from Altona since 1995 — was by far the most successful model produced in this country. Total production to October 3, 2017, was 2,117,808 vehicles, plus 50,296 hybrid variants that were built from 2009.

Toyota has exported more vehicles from Australia than any other manufacturer — a total of 1,324,991 cars. The largest export market was the Middle East, which took 1,245,914 Australian-built cars.

Australia was the first country outside Japan to build Toyota engines, starting in 1979. Altona-built engines have been used in Camry for the local and export markets, including Thailand and Malaysia. The final tally was 2,535,963 locally-built engines.

In total, Australians have bought more than 6.5 million Toyotas.