MADRID – French automaker PSA Group announces it will assemble around 20,000-30,000 units per year of a variant within its K9 light-commercial vehicle range for Toyota at its plant in Vigo in northwest Spain from late 2019.
The new LCV will be built until 2022-2023 on the No.2 line at the plant, where the Citroen C4 Picasso and C4 Grand Picasso multipurpose vehicles now are assembled.
The agreement has been well-received by the unions that have accepted the layoffs of 400 workers at Vigo, a move forced by slow sales of the Citroen C-Elysée and Peugeot 301 models on the plant’s No.1 line. Production of those models in Spain will be discontinued in Spain in 2019 but will resume later at a plant PSA is building in Morocco.
Suppliers to the K9 project, comprising the Peugeot Partner/Rifter, Citroen Berlingo and Opel/Vauxhall Combo models, also welcome the announcement, as the Toyota variant will share about 95% of the parts used in the PSA LCVs.
PSA will use the No.1 line to build the new Peugeot 2008 CUV; an electric version also is planned.
The 2008 and K9 programs could raise Vigo’s annual production beyond its maximum capacity of 550,000 to 600,000 units annually. The plant assembled a record 547,000 vehicles in 2007, but output in 2017 was 434,000.
Should production exceed Vigo’s capacity, PSA could transfer work to its Mangualde plant in Portugal that currently assembles K9 units of the Peugeot and Citroen brands.
It is not the first time PSA and Toyota have collaborated in the production of an LCV.
PSA and Fiat formed a joint venture in 2012 that built Citroën Jumpy, Peugeot Expert and Fiat Scudo models at the Sevel Nord plant in Valenciennes, France. When Fiat withdrew from the JV Toyota stepped in with a vehicle marketed as the Toyota ProAce, which remains in production in van and MPV versions.
PSA and Toyota since 2002 also have operated a joint venture in Czech Republic, Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile Czech, in the city of Kolin. The JV assembles small cars including the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1. Both automakers say Toyota will take over the operation in 2021 and continue building the PSA models until the current versions are discontinued.