November 30, 2018 10:42 CET
PARIS — PSA Group and Toyota confirmed that Toyota will take full ownership of the companies’ joint venture factory in Kolin, Czech Republic, which makes the Citroen C1, the Peugeot 108 and the Toyota Aygo minicars.
PSA and Toyota will also expand their partnership in light commercial vehicles. Starting at the end of 2019, PSA will supply Toyota with a small van from its plant in Vigo, Spain, which this year has started producing the newest generation of the Citroen Berlingo, Opel Combo and Peugeot Partner, in both commercial and passenger variants. PSA has made the Toyota Proace medium van at its factory in Hordain, France, since 2012.
Such collaborations are common in the light commercial vehicle segment. Toyota said in a news release that it would share the cost of developing and industrializing the new small van.
Toyota will take ownership of the Kolin factory in January 2021. The joint venture — Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile Czech, or TPCA — was started in 2002, and an opt-out clause allowed either automaker to review the arrangement. The factory will become a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Europe, which has seven other plants in Europe.
The news was first reported by the French financial newspaper Les Echos, which also reported that PSA would not renew the C1 and 108 when production ends in 2021.
Toyota did not specify future production plans at the Czech factory, which produced 199,000 vehicles in 2017. The company said that it would continue to produce the current models, and “intends to continue production and employment in the future.”
“Our commitment to the Kolin plant demonstrates Toyota’s philosophy of producing cars where we sell them and our long-term manufacturing presence in Europe,” Didier Leroy, Toyota Motor Europe vice president, said in a news release.
The Kolin factory has an annual capacity of 300,000 units with production split between the Aygo, C1 and 208. Industry sources said Toyota could build a small SUV or crossover at Kolin. Toyota said earlier this year that it would add a B (small)-segment SUV based on the Yaris subcompact hatchback at its plant in Valenciennes, France, with an investment of hundreds of millions of euros.
PSA has not said whether it would replace the 108 and C1, which are built on Toyota’s B-Zero platform. Citroen CEO Linda Jackson told Automotive News Europe in October that she thought the segment “would evolve.”
“I think in the future we’ll need to think about what those customers want — most are urban, so they’ll want electric, but will they be wanting that size of car, or a different type?” she said.
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