Toyota celebrates 20 years of manufacturing at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey, decides to increase future production, investment

When you walk the aisles of the Toyota plant in Sakarya, Turkey — about 150 km east of Istanbul — where Toyota Corolla and Verso are built, you can often hear Japanese being spoken. Although the factory only counts a limited number of temporary employees on rotation from Japan at any given time, many Turkish managers and production supervisors can understand and speak Japanese. "At the start, back in the mid-1990s, most of our production leaders went to Japan to learn our production system, and they learned the language," explained Orhan Özer, President and CEO of TMMT. "Today, they have grown with us and many of them are in management positions," he added.

This, and a true dedication to the Toyota Production System adopted here at the start of production in 1994, makes Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey one of the best in the world for manufacturing quality. "Our level of quality measured during quality audits is the same as that of our factories in Japan," says Mr Özer. "High quality manufacturing and productivity improvement are the key strengths of TMMT."

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary, Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said to the employees there: "We fully believe in the potential for long-term economic growth in Turkey, and trust the capability of the Toyota members here. This plant is competitive, and we have decided to increase production at TMMT in the future and are now studying how exactly this will take shape."

Last year, the Turkish factory was chosen to produce the 11th generation Corolla for Europe — Toyota's global best-seller and symbol of its success. "This was a sign that we are competitive enough to build such an important vehicle," commented Mr Özer. "In addition, locating production here in Turkey takes advantage of our proximity to Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East, regions where Corolla is quite popular," he added. Corolla sales in greater Europe are up 44% year-on-year. "We're very pleased to have secured Toyota's future investment in our plant," he said.

Amongst the 1.5 million vehicles that have come off the assembly line since the start of production in September 1994, are:

- Corolla (7th generation, 8th, 9th generation, including wagon, and now 11th generation)

- Verso (previous generation from 2004 and current generation since 2009)

The plant started out as a complete-knock-down (CKD) factory in 1994, serving mainly the domestic market and operated within the Sabanci group as Toyotasa. Toyota was the first Asian auto manufacturer in the country. In 1996, the plant was ISO-9001 certified. In 2000, it was spun off and established as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey, part of Toyota Motor Europe. Export started in 2002 and now constitutes 85% of total production volume — mainly to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus.

As a Toyota plant, TMMT's environmental performance is high. The plant recycles 100% of its waste and has been able to reduce its waste by 40% in the past three years. Energy, water and resource consumption has also been reduced by 5% year-on-year. The plant counts 20,000 trees of 300 species on its premises. "Every year, we welcome students for our environmental tours, in total we have raised awareness of environmental issues amongst more than 5,000 students from the region," says Mr Özer. The plant also supports technical education and traffic safety. TMMT's social contribution activities have reached more than 10,000 students in total.


-With 85% of its 135,000 vehicle production plan for 2014 destined towards export, the plant consistently ranks as one of Turkey's top 10 exporters

- Toyota Motor Europe President and CEO Didier Leroy announces decision to increase production, investment in TMMT in the future

- The plant currently employs 3,500 team members and TMMT's investment to date is more than 1.4 billion Euro