Relocated to state-of-the-art Altona plant
Toyota Australia has shifted the last of its manufacturing departments from Port Melbourne to its Altona plant, bringing down the curtain on half a century of automotive operations at this historic site.
The Port Melbourne plant is an historic site for the Australian motor industry, having commenced operations in 1952. It was here that the first Toyota ever built outside Japan was assembled in April 1963. More than one million Toyotas were built at Port Melbourne up to 1994 and the company retained manufacturing operations there until 30 May, 2006.
The final automotive operations – including bumper bar production and the assembly of small components – have now been transferred to Altona. Toyota’s expansive manufacturing operations have now been consolidated into a single site for the first time since 1989.
The president of Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Ltd, Ted Okada, said Port Melbourne played a significant role in Toyota’s long and proud history of manufacturing in Victoria. “The end of production at Port Melbourne is a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the many thousands of people who have worked here and made it such an iconic landmark,” said Mr Okada. “Without their hard work, skill and dedication, Toyota could not have become the number one car brand in Australia. However, we constantly strive to improve every aspect of production to meet quality and cost expectations globally, especially now that most of the cars we produce are sold overseas. It was important to consolidate our operations and we have invested heavily in new facilities at Altona in preparation for the introduction of the new Camry and Aurion models this year.”
Most of the land owned by Toyota in Port Melbourne has been bought by developers and forms the new Toyota Green industrial estate. Toyota Australia’s dramatic new $50 million corporate headquarters opened alongside the Westgate Freeway two years ago, so the company retains a strong connection to the site.
Car production commenced at the Port Melbourne site in 1952 under Standard Motors, which had started as Eclipse Motors in the 1920s and became Australian Motor Industries (AMI) in the late-1950s. As well as Toyotas, the Port Melbourne assembly line produced British Vanguards, Standards and Triumphs, Mercedes-Benz from Germany and Ramblers from the United States up to 1978.
After vehicle assembly was transferred to the state-of-the-art Altona assembly plant over the 1994-95 New Year break, a number of Toyota operations remained at Port Melbourne, including seat and trim, press shop, bumper factory and component manufacture. These have now been relocated with all staff being offered ongoing employment at Altona.