Why Toyota has an F1 operation

According to reports in Japan, Toyota will soon announce plans to increase its overseas production by 40% by 2008. If all goes to plan the company will be manufacturing 9.1m cars a year, five million of them in foreign factories. The company is pushing up its domestic output to 4.15m and adding more manufacturing in China where the aim is to be building 600,000 cars by 2008. Asian production outside Japan and China will go up to one million with a new factory being built in Thailand. There will be increased production in Europe as well but the big hike will come in the United States where Toyota is planning a 20% hike in production to increase the pressure on local rivals GM and Ford. North American production will rise to 1.84m units. Toyota has eight European factories in Britain, France, Poland, Turkey and the Czech Republic and is building another factory in St Petersburg in Russia.

The F1 programme is designed to back up this ambitious expansion programme and to give Toyota the image of being a high-performance automobile manufacturer. The Toyota team may not have won anything thus far but with Williams joining the party in 2007 the company should be set for F1 success.

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