Toyota Launches Competition to Look for its Oldest British-Built Model

If there’s one thing Toyota is known for, it is the longevity of its cars. Now, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of its Burnaston plant in the UK, the Japanese automaker wants to prove that this holds true for all of its vehicles, regardless of where they were made, so it came up with a competition to find the oldest surviving British-built Carina E. In 1992, the Carina E mid-size sedan was the first Toyota to roll off the assembly line at the company’s then newly opened Burnaston plant in Derbyshire. Toyota went through the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) records and discovered that some 17,000 Carina models, built between 1992 and 1997, are still in regular use in the UK. “There’s a serious message behind the mission to find the oldest Carina E,” the company said in a statement. “Achieving the highest standards of build and quality are central to Toyota, and there was to be no compromise when the decision was made to begin its European manufacturing operations in the UK.” Toyota said it is asking owners and enthusiasts across the land to check out the VIN numbers of Carina E sedans by looking just below the windscreen wipers, first to make sure that the car was made in the UK and not in Japan. The automaker said that the 17-character code on the vehicle’s identification plate will start with an “S” for Burnaston vehicles, and a “J” for imports. Owners and enthusiasts can then inform the company about the car by sending an email to The owners of the oldest Carina Es will be invited by the automaker to tell their car’s story and have it photographed, and will be given the opportunity to win the use of a new Auris for a week. Today, the Busnaston factory produces the successor to the Carina E, the Avensis, alongside the new Auris and Auris Hybrid. In 2011, the plant produced more than 128,000 vehicles, 80 per cent or 102,400 units of which were sent for export to Europe and other market around the world.