Yesterday, we talked about the odd occurrence of Toyota if not saving the hide of GM’s new partner PSA Peugeot Citroen, then at least keeping one of PSA’s plants from being closed. This by having vans made by PSA for the European market, instead of shipping them from Japan.
When we wrote that, TTAC correspondent th009 rightfully questioned why in the world does Toyota order a van from PSA if they have a Hiace. Correspondent felix offered the explanation that due to its “cab-over configuration, the Hiace won’t meet European frontal impact crash standards.” This sounded like a logical explanation, until from Finland, correspondent Perc offered a resounding “mitää???”, explaining that the Hiace has been a big success in Suomi. Finland has the same safety standards as all on Europe.
So, what is it then?
The Nikkei [sub] to the rescue. It’s the damned yen. Says the Nikkei:
“Toyota sells only about 10,000 small commercial vehicles a year in Europe, roughly 1% of the total sales in the region. With the strong yen eradicating any prospects for improving the business’ profitability, Toyota stopped exporting its Hiace, a small commercial van, from Japan to Europe last fall. Several potential partners were considered, but Toyota went with PSA, with which it makes small vehicles in the Czech Republic.”
So there you have it. PSAS’s Sevelnord plant was nearly shuttered because PSA’s current joint venture partner Fiat bailed. Toyota took Fiat’s place and most likely received a better deal than shipping Hiaces from strong yen Japan to low euro Europe.
And anyway, looking at the picture …