Toyota boss hints at UK stay

Toyota boss hints at UK stay

The Midlands automotive supply chain has received a major boost after the boss of Toyota hinted that the car manufacturer will keep its UK plants even if Britain leaves the EU.

Chief executive Akio Toyoda suggested the Japanese firm was looking to "deepen" its ties and would still be operating at its factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, in 2090.

He told the Financial Times that former staff had buried a time capsule at the assembly plant 25 years ago and he believed the firm's workers would still be there to open it.

Toyoda said: "From now on, like Japan, we may face some pretty tough times in the UK market.

"But we want to deepen our roots to deliver ever better cars, so when that capsule is opened after 100 years, all can see we've built a truly British company."

His comments came as the debate around Britain's membership of the EU intensified, with David Cameron insisting ministers in his government do not campaign for a "Brexit" until renegotiation talks finish.

Cameron hopes to strike a deal on his demands at a crunch summit in Brussels next month which will then allow him to recommend that the UK remains within a reformed EU, but until the talks are concluded he stressed that all his ministers should follow the government line.

He also hinted an inout referendum could take place as early as this summer.

Toyoda suggested further investment by the car-maker could hinge on access to the wider EU market.

He told the FT: "In the sense that investment equals capacity then various things come into it, like the size of the market.

"But there are other kinds of investment: in research, in development, in people."

The company employs around 3,400 staff in both Derbyshire and its engine plant in Deeside, north Wales.