Babiš to Toyota: You will not find a better place in Europe for car production

TPCA, photo: archive of Czech Government

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš hopes that Toyota will expand its investment in the Czech Republic and start manufacturing hydrogen powered cars in its factory in Kolín, Hospodářské Noviny reported on Thursday. The car manufacturer is a world leader in alternative fuel automobile technology and is considering increasing its production in mainland Europe in case of Brexit complications.

TPCA,  photo: archive of Czech Government
Currently, Toyota manufactures its Aygo city car model in the Czech city of Kolín, one of the most sophisticated car factories in Europe, which is able to produce up to 330,000 vehicles a year.

Thus far, the Japanese car maker has shared ownership of the plant with Peugeot and Citroen. However, that is set to change in 2021, when Toyota will take over full ownership.

The Czech prime minister, who was in Japan attending the coronation of Japanese emperor Naruhito earlier this week, also took a detour to the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, where he met with Toyota representatives.

After the encounter, Mr. Babiš told the newspaper Hospodářské Noviny that he highlighted his country’s automobile tradition and stressed that Czechia is the best base for Toyota in Europe.

The Czech government is hoping to persuade Toyota to increase its car production and overall investment in the country. This could help its plan to significantly improve Czech hydrogen transport infrastructure in the near future.

Some leverage in these negotiations could be gained from the complications that Brexit is likely to have on Toyota’s exports into Europe from its two manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom.

Experts have been saying for some years that this could lead the Japanese car manufacturer to increase its production in mainland Europe and Mr. Babiš hopes that Czechia will end up being the chosen location.

Toyota is not the only Japanese company interested in the area around Kolin. In September, Sanko Gosei, which focuses on the production of plastic components in automobiles, signed a CZK 27 million property purchase in the Ovčáry industrial zone, according to Hospodářské Noviny.