The devastating floods in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa in early April went largely unreported in the west despite killing over 400 people with an unknown number missing.

There was a huge amount of damage done throughout the area with an estimated 40,000 people left homeless.

88% of stock scrapped

Rebuilding and repair within the affected areas has already started with the Toyota factory at Prospecton hoping to restart production in the near future.

The plant produces a range of vehicles for various markets, including the Hilux for Europe.

Amidst fears that the halt to production will cause further shortages of vehicles, Toyota has stated that only 551 of the completed 4,596 cars on site were unaffected, the rest will need to be scrapped.

In addition to losing over 4,000 units directly through water ingression, the company has estimated that it will lose a further 45,000 while the factory is being repaired and recommissioned.

Slow process

Andrew Kirby, CEO for Toyota South Africa, has gone on record to say that the parent company has sent 60 engineers over from Japan to help clean up and get the lines moving again, with production of the Hino being the first to recommence.

However, despite this extra help he was unable to forecast exactly when the factory would return to full capacity, only that “a careful and systematic phased plan to return the facility to working condition” has been implemented.

Substantial Hilux heritage

The Toyota Hilux has been a firm favourite for farmers throughout the world, first appearing in 1968. Since then it has gone on to sell over 19 million units.

Toyota Hilux 1968
The first Hilux came with a 1,500cc petrol engine

It is currently in its eighth generation and sports a 2.8L diesel engine providing 201hp, a far cry from its first appearance when a 1.5L petrol engine gave 75hp.

The Hilux is also made in Thailand, Argentina, India and Malaysia but there is no word as to whether vehicles from these factories will be diverted to the European market.