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New Paint Ovens Commissioned in Toyota's Signature Class Plant

Toyota New Zealand has expressed confidence in the future of its Signature Class brand by investing in an all new paint facility at its Thames vehicle operations centre.

The plant now uses state-of-the-art technology and is the largest paint shop installation of its type in New Zealand (Southern Hemisphere).

Speaking after a recent ceremony to celebrate the completion of the project, Toyota's General Manager of Used Vehicles, Spencer Morris, said that improvements in paint quality, production efficiency and environmental impact were the key design requirements for the project.

"The results were obvious almost immediately with even better paint gloss levels and faster throughput than already achieved. The new plant also produces fewer emissions and uses less energy."

The outgoing painting equipment had been designed and installed in the 1970's and was designed to paint bare body shells. In the late 90's the paint shop had been adapted to suit used cars following the closure of local assembly operation.

"Decommissioning of the old ovens and the installation of the new ovens was staged over about 12 months to ensure continuity of production throughout the rebuild process," Mr Morris said. "Despite the disruption this type of decommissioning could cause, the quality and production output of the centre were never compromised."

Toyota's Signature Class brand is in its eleventh year in New Zealand and now sells enough vehicles per year to be ranked the fifth amongst top new vehicle makes in New Zealand.