The Toyota site near Valenciennes (North) will continue to hire in 2021 to prepare for the launch of its small SUV, the Yaris Cross, its management announced Thursday. In a gloomy context for the global automotive industry, the site is targeting nearly 200 new hires, for a total of 4,944 employees expected by the end of 2021 against 4,750 at the end of 2019, said the new director of the site, the Scottish Jim Crosbie, during the group’s greeting presentation.

The Onnaing Toyota site is due to celebrate its twentieth anniversary on January 31, during which it only produced small Yaris. With 188,142 units in 2020, it was the most produced vehicle in France, ahead of the Peugeot 3008, according to the consulting firm Inovev. The site is preparing to produce on the same lines a second vehicle from this summer: the Yaris Cross, a mini-SUV which should bring production to 300,000 copies annually.

The year 2020 did not spare the northern site: closed for five weeks during the first containment, the site also saw its productivity slow down at the end of the year due to transport delays linked to Brexit. At the beginning of the year, it is the global shortage of electronic components linked to the epidemic which also affects the site, causing the cancellation of two days of work, indicated its management.

Toyota continues to rely heavily on the hybrid, which now represents 75% of the production of Yaris in Onnaing. The manufacturer does not foresee “short term“To produce electric versions there at Onnaing,” said Jim Crosbie. According to figures released Thursday, the Japanese giant last year stole the leading position in the global automotive market from the German Volkswagen by volume, selling about 9.53 million vehicles of all brands of the group.