Toyota Australia today announced plans to cut 350 jobs at its Altona manufacturing plant, in what it is referring to as a “response to operating conditions”.
The company will implement about 350 compulsory redundancies, a process that will get underway almost immediately.
The cut-backs are in response to what Toyota describes as "severe operating conditions", due to factors including the strong Australian dollar, reduced cost competitiveness and declining demand, particularly in export markets.
Toyota Australia President and CEO, Mr Max Yasuda said: "It is unfortunate that we have to take this action and we will ensure affected employees are supported during this process.
"In consideration of current and anticipated market conditions this action is necessary. It is not possible to maintain our workforce at its current size."
Toyota’s vehicle manufacturing production levels have declined from 149,000 in 2007, to 94,000 in 2011, and an expected 95,000 cars in 2012.
Sales of the Toyota Camry to the Middle East have been seriously affected by the Global Financial Crisis (and continue to be), while at home, sales of the local Camry have dropped off in the wake of an all-new Camry that is just now finding its way into showrooms.
"The reality is that our volumes are down. What we assumed was a temporary circumstance has turned into a permanent situation. This drop of 36% in just four years shows the scale of our challenges," said Mr Yasuda
Mr Yasuda said Toyota Australia would tackle the challenges impacting its business with actions including workforce adjustment, import vehicle sourcing optimisation, efficiency improvements and cost improvements.
These actions were part of the company's strategy to transform its Australian operations, including strengthening its manufacturing business.
Toyota Australia’s plans to launch the next generation Hybrid Camry and Aurion models in 2012 remain unchanged. It will also be building a new plant to manufacture four cylinder and hybrid engines at Altona.