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Toyota select Turkey as a strategic manufacturing base...

Yoshio Ishizaka's speech...
Speech for press conference by Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation
Good morning ladies and gentlemen...

Thank you for joining us today for the TMMT export launching ceremony. You have for so long been extremely helpful to us, and I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to you.

Today we are holding an export launching ceremony, so first, I would like to talk about the market situation in Europe, including Turkey. Although it will be repeated later on in the ceremony, I would like to state now that our current goal for the European market is annual sales of 800,000 units or around 5% market share by 2005.

In order to reach this goal, Toyota believes it is essential to have local production of the Avensis, Yaris and Corolla, which we are establishing as the core models for the European market. Production of the Avensis and Corolla hatchback has begun in the United Kingdom and that of the Yaris in France, and the initiation of exports of the Corolla by TMMT in Turkey to Europe as planned has real significance.

We decided to transform TMMT into one of our European bases, after judging that it was well worth putting our faith in Turkey's potential in terms of its excellent and competitive labor force and its gradually improving domestic parts industry, hoping, at the same time, that we could be of help to Turkey. We hope for full utilization of the production capacity of TMMT as a European base, but in order to achieve this it will be necessary to realize Turkey's potential and to achieve success with the Corolla.

We are putting our full effort into TMMT, and ask for your continued support and understanding here in Turkey.

I would like to take this opportunity now to touch a little on the conditions which are affecting Toyota Motor Corporation. Looking back on the previous year, Toyota's business environment witnessed a series of adverse events beginning with the slowdown in the Japanese and American economies. But in the face of these difficult conditions, we took positive action, vigorously introducing new models in Japanese domestic market and making strong efforts overseas.

As a result, we managed to produce 5.85 million vehicles worldwide last year and sell 5.93 million. Of these, 670,000 were sold in Europe, thanks to which we achieved a new record high for Toyota for a fifth year in a row, gaining a market share of 3.8%.

To mention a little about our overseas production, last year we commenced production at our French plant, and at the end of last year the city of Kolin, in the Czech Republic, was chosen as the site for our joint venture with PSA. Early this year, we also announced production of truck beds in Mexico. Furthermore, this spring will see the start of transmission production in Poland, and, in the second half of the year, passenger car production will start in China at Tianjin.

Thus you can see that Europe accounts for a large number of our overseas production projects and that we are putting emphasis on the European market, including that of Turkey.

Coming back to TMC's efforts, from March of this year, we will participate in Formula 1 racing under the eagerly awaited Panasonic Toyota Racing banner. I hope that you will all be watching us as we courageously take on the challenge of the world's most daring racing competition.

As for our environmental policy, Toyota has always considered this one of the most vital management issues. In particular regarding hybrid vehicles, the Prius has been highly evaluated in Europe and America, and we have begun introducing new types of hybrid vehicles in Japan - a minivan and a luxury sedan. Worldwide, Toyota's hybrid vehicle sales have reached almost 90,000.

Today you will see a new Corolla embarking afresh as "Made by Toyota" in Turkey bon voyage to Europe. To this end, we look forward to your advice and guidance.

Thank you for your attention.

Necla Bitirgen Ağmal, Media Relations
Voice: +9 (0212) 282 94 01 (PBX)


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