October 4, 2017

Toyota Australia Closes Manufacturing Operations

Toyota corporate logo

Toyota has officially ended more than half a century of manufacturing vehicles in Australia.

Approximately 3,000 people attended a ceremony today at the Altona plant including current and former employees, suppliers, affiliate companies and officials from Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan.  

Toyota Australia President Dave Buttner paid tribute to employees past and present for their ongoing commitment to ensuring the goal of ‘last car = best global car’.

“It is you, our dedicated employees, who have built Toyota into Australia’s leading car company – the biggest-selling brand for 20 individual years, including the past 14 in a row,” Mr Buttner said.

“It is your efforts that have helped Toyota become a byword for quality, for reliability and for trust wherever you go in Australia.

Mr. Buttner assured departing employees that the company will be here to support them beyond today.

“When we launched the DRIVE program in 2014, its purpose was to ensure you are all in the best possible position to find a new job in the future. These services will remain until the middle of next year.”

Mr. Buttner said Toyota would continue to be the leading automotive brand in Australia, retaining approximately 1,300 local employees and the existing dealer network of more than 270 sites.

“Toyota will maintain a sizeable presence in Australia. The company will continue to provide the Australian market with a diverse range of high quality vehicles, which I have no doubt will exceed expectations.” 

At Altona, plans included the relocation of key business units and the development of a Centre of Excellence.

“Altona will house our expanded design and engineering capabilities.  Our 150-strong team are in great demand by Toyota affiliates around the globe.

“The Centre of Excellence will include a world-class training facility and other commercial initiatives that will enhance the company's business and the community.”

Global President of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda, recently visited the Altona plant in August. 

Mr. Toyoda walked down the line and personally greeted manufacturing employees, expressing his sincere appreciation for the hard work and dedication that had been demonstrated in the lead up to their last day. 

Today, via video, Mr. Toyoda once again expressed his gratitude. 

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation again to you, our dedicated employees, our suppliers, our customers, the local community and government who have all supported Toyota’s manufacturing development in Australia.

“From the bottom of my heart I wish you and your families’ happiness in the future. Thank you very much.”

Toyota Australia Chairman Max Yasuda announced the Toyota Community Trust, initiated through a $32 million endowment, which is to be left as a lasting legacy of the company’s proud 54-year history of local manufacturing.

Mr Yasuda said he, like many employees, regarded Toyota as a family – a family that extended to the local communities in which Toyota operated.

“The Toyota Community Trust will enable us to create new beginnings for young people and provide all employees, especially those who are leaving today, with another reason to be proud of their time with Toyota,” Mr Yasuda said.

As part of Toyota Australia’s transition to a national sales and distribution company, the consolidation of all corporate functions from Sydney to Melbourne will take effect by 1 January 2018. 

As a result of this consolidation and cessation of manufacturing, the number of employees will reduce from 3,900 people to approximately 1,300. The head office will continue to be based in Port Melbourne and most of the Altona manufacturing site will be retained for new and relocated functions.


Toyota Australia Product Facts/History

• Australia played a prominent role in the emergence of Toyota as a global force.  In the 1960s, Australia was the company’s largest export market with prominent nameplates including LandCruiser.

• Australia was the first country outside Japan to produce Toyota cars, starting with the Tiara in 1963 at a factory in Port Melbourne, now the site of the company’s corporate headquarters. Other famous car names to be produced in Australia by Toyota include Crown, Corona and Corolla.

• In late 1966, Australia was the first destination of Corolla exports from Japan, just one month after the car’s launch.  Those cars went on sale the following year and a year later, in 1968, Australia became the first country outside Japan to build Corolla.

• As part of a joint venture with Holden, Corolla production was switched from Port Melbourne to a plant leased from Holden from 1989 until mid-1994.  Toyota produced variants of its Corolla (Nova) and Camry (Apollo) for Holden.

• Toyota is the only vehicle manufacturer to build a hybrid car in Australia.

• Camry – built at Port Melbourne from 1987 and from Altona since 1995 – was by far the most successful model produced in this country.  Total production to October 3, 2017 was 2,117,808 vehicles plus 50,296 hybrid variants that were built from 2009, totaling 2,168,104.  

• Australia was the first country outside Japan to export Camry. 

• The Camry was the tenth vehicle type produced by Toyota Australia in the 54 years of manufacturing since 1963.

• The end of manufacturing heralds a new era for the Camry nameplate, which will continue in Australia with the launch next month of an all-new fully imported range.

• Toyota has exported more vehicles from Australia than any other manufacturer – a total of 1,324,991 cars.  The last export car was built on September 27. The largest export market was the Middle East, which took 1,245,914 Australian-built cars.

• Australia was the first country outside Japan to build Toyota engines, starting in 1979.  Altona-built engines have been used in Camry for the local and export markets, including Thailand and Malaysia.  The final tally was 2,535,963 locally built engines.

• In total, Australians have bought more than 6.5 million Toyota vehicles.

Toyota Australia Production Highlights

• Highest production year: 148,931 (2007)

• Highest production month: 15,355 (October 2007)

• Biggest export market: Middle East (1,245,914 cars)

Toyota Australia Production

Car Number Years
Tiara 1,684 1963-1965
Corona 336,197 1965-1987
Crown 46,690 1966-1980
Corolla 601,104 1967-1999
Camry 2,168,104 1987-2017
Apollo 40,287 1989-1996
Nova 28,128 1989-1996
Avalon 44,741 2000-2005
Aurion 184,180 2006-2017
TOTALS 3,451,115 1963-2017

Toyota Continues to Drive Employee Support Program

It has been just over three years since Toyota Australia launched its internal ‘DRIVE’ employee transition program.

More than 2,200 Toyota employees have elected to take part in the program in order to help prepare for their future beyond today’s closure of manufacturing.

As a key part of the company’s long-term strategy to assist employees impacted by job closure, the DRIVE program has offered a range of career management and transition support services. 

This includes setting individual career goals, the creation of individual career plans, jobs skills training and further education, assistance in obtaining information on other industries, career days, job seeking support and more. 

“The DRIVE program was designed to act as a one-stop shop for our employees, to ensure that they are in the best possible position of finding a new job in the future,” Toyota Australia President Dave Buttner said.

“As promised in 2014, the company has been committed to doing everything that we can to support our employees as we transition to a national sales and distribution company.

Our goal has been to ensure that employees feel confident and well prepared for their future when they leave Toyota.

The program will continue to support our employees until mid-2018, and will be in regular contact in years to come.”

Toyota employees have had access to formal training and education, as well as more than 600 online courses covering areas such as project management, communication skills and software programs. 

Specific information and support has also been offered to employees entering retirement once finished at Toyota. 

Many employees have taken the opportunity to develop their skills to start their own small business, in areas as varied as nutrition, landscaping, brewing and photography.

Other programs have focused on language, literacy, numeracy and computer skills.  

More recently, the program has focused on job-seeking support including workshops on creating resumes, personal marketing, networking, job searching and interview techniques.

DRIVE stands for Dedicated, Ready, Individual, Vocational and Energised.

For any employers wanting to connect with recently departed Toyota Australia employees regarding job opportunities, please contact Vicky Tang on +61 2 9229 2177 or [email protected]


Name:   John Christopoulos
Position:   Senior Specialist, Quality Control Department
Future goal through the DRIVE program:   Maths and physics teacher in secondary education

“Without the DRIVE Program, I don’t think I would have followed up any career opportunities. I would have just waited to see the closure and then hoped I would have found another job. 

It turned a negative into a positive in my case because it gave me the chance to chase a new career and develop further options that I never had before. It opened more doors than I could have ever imagined.

I feel like I’m ready to go into the job market. In actual fact, I’m ready to go now. There’s opportunities coming up on a daily basis, so once I finish my current position I’ll be able to succeed and fulfil a position out there for a teaching vacancy.”

Name:   Jey Jeyanthan
Position:  Import Material Manager, Production Control Division
Future goal through the DRIVE program:   Consultant in lean business improvement

“I walked into the DRIVE Program with a confused mindset. Fortunately I had a good consultant. I received a lot of advice so I was able to narrow down what I wanted to do. 

I’m currently reskilling. I’m doing a Six Sigma Black Belt course. This is a high-demand certification that I’m prepared to go through, and the company is supporting me financially.

Within another few months I’ll finish my project and I’ll obtain my certification. This will put me in a better position after Toyota to find a secure job.”

Name:   Andreas Kammel
Position:   Environmental Policy Manager, Corporate Affairs
Future goal through the DRIVE program:   German and science teacher

“The support I got from the DRIVE Program was really, really good. It was a very personalised service. I got my case manager and we spoke about the future. 

They did not have to do any of that, the DRIVE Program, but I remember how our global president, Akio Toyoda, said at the closure announcement that he would make sure that we were all taken care of and it would be done in the best possible way. It would not be Toyota if we would not do this the best possible way.

I’m confident that other people that are leaving will take these very unique and well-regarded skills out into the broader workforce. Toyota will stay with us for many years to come."


Toyota Australia has today announced it will continue to give back to the community following the closure of its manufacturing operations in Altona.  

The Toyota Community Trust, initiated through a $32 million endowment, was unveiled by Toyota Australia Chairman Max Yasuda during the company’s closure ceremony, which paid tribute to departing manufacturing employees.

The trust will provide long-term benefits to the Australian community, in particular helping young Australians realise their potential.

Mr. Yasuda said the discretionary trust would be a lasting legacy of the company’s proud 54-year history of local manufacturing.

“The Toyota Community Trust will encourage the educational dreams of young people and provide our employees who are leaving today, with another reason to be proud of their time with Toyota,” Mr Yasuda said. 

“Our company will continue to employ a significant number of engineers to develop and test vehicles, parts and accessories for global Toyota affiliates, including products that will be sold in Australia.

“This trust will encourage and enable more young Australians to pursue further study and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). STEM is vital to Australia’s future, and my dream is that some of the young people we support may eventually join Toyota.”

Grants awarded from the trust will be funded via earnings from the $32 million endowment.

With an initial focus on Melbourne’s west, the trust will focus on initiatives that help students overcome financial barriers to pursuing further study; create quality learning experiences; foster STEM teaching skills; and address gaps between available courses and potential jobs.