Toyota celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Burnaston car plant

Over the last few years Toyota has infused a great deal of money into its British plant increasing their workforce here by about 800 employees and putting around £185m into the plant. This year marks their twentieth anniversary at the Burnaston car production plant that has received a total of £2.1 billion since it was first opened back in 1992.

At the moment the Buraston plant is able to offer vehicle supplies to more than 56 different markets spread out across the world. The Touring Sports estate, a new addition to the Auris model range, is the latest vehicle to be built at the Burnaston factory and is scheduled to hit the market for sale in July of 2013.

The new five door hatchback from Auris is priced at the affordable price tag of £14,495 and is available in four different power sources: petrol (1.33 and 1.6 litre), diesel, and hybrid. Adding to its ability to help reduce costs, the 1.4 litre diesel engine also has low CO2 emissions of just 99g/km that result in 13% less road tax car tax, and of course allow drivers to skip out on the London Congestion Charges.

Overall the Auris five door is able to offer a 50kg reduction in overall weight given the fact that it is made out of featherweight high strength steel. Even though the vehicle is a little bit lighter, it overall has a 30% increase in boot space for all of the new versions and since the Hybrid battery pack is placed under the rear seats instead of in the boot even this does not affect space concerns.

Plus, by placing the battery under the seats the height of the car is reduced and the car is offered a lower ground clearance to allow for a better centre of gravity that makes it handle much better. The overall design of the body also offers better torsional rigidity which is another feature that helps make this new version of the Auris handle better. Toss in a better suspension system and a 10% improvement in the steering ratio and the driver will find the ride to be much better.

Toyota is expecting that the Auris will receive a five star Euro NCAP safety rating with all five models covered by a five year or 100,000 mile warranty offered by Toyota as part of their standard new car purchase deal. IN addition, the Hybrid sports an eight year 100,000 mile battery warning.

The Auris C-segment family hatchback was first launched in 2007 and was seen as the replacement for the Corolla which is still sold in some markets as a family car. In the UK the Corolla annual sales come in at about 30,000 units and although Auris has only managed to snag about a third of these sales the recession may be impacting numbers some.

The new Auris model is expected to help reverse the trend allowing sales to start to rise over the course of next year with Toyota hoping to see the sales of the Auris peak at 18,000 by 2015. They expect the growth to occur due to an improvement in the appeal to business users and fleet users that will want an environmental choice.

The moderate price tag is another reason why Toyota expects the new Auris to sell so well, in particular for the hybrid. In fact, Toyota is also estimating that about 40% of sales will come from the hybrid version with about three-quarters of these sales coming from fleet and business customers.