1. ITV Report

​Car maker T​oyota ​raise questions over long term future in Derbyshire

There are raised questions over Toyota's long-term future in Derbyshire is Credit: PA Images

​Car maker T​oyota ​has raised questions over the long term future of its plant at Burnaston in Derbyshire - citing continuing uncertainty over the direction and timetable of Brexit negotiations.

​News agency Reuters reported the Japanese firm's top foreign executive Didier Leroy warned they could be forced to shift some UK production elsewhere if concerns were not addressed.

​Toyota announced plans in March to begin upgrading its Burnaston plant in preparation for future models at a cost of 240 million pounds, after receiving written assurances from the government.

But ​Leroy, attending the Frankfurt Motor Show, told Reuters the company could not wait indefinitely before deciding whether to build a new model at the site after production of the ageing Avensis model ends. Burnaston also builds the smaller Auris.

We cannot take this kind of decision before we have clarity on the future trade relationship,” ​he ​said​. ​“We will not close the plant tomorrow morning, but if in two to three years we have to decide some future investments, of course the key point will be the competitiveness of this plant in future.”

– Didier Leroy, Toyota Top Foreign Executive

Britain’s car industry is increasingly anxious that its exports could face tariffs and other barriers after 2019.

Motor industry expert Professor David Bailey, of Birmingham's Aston University, said:

"Japanese auto makers like Toyota, Nissan and Honda came to the U.K. to access the Single European Market. Much of what Toyota produces is exported to Europe. Uncertainty is already acting as a drag on investment in the auto industry. A hard Brexit will raise questions about future investment and whether production will be kept in the UK."

– David Bailey, of Aston University