LONDON: Japanese carmaker Toyota is to invest almost a quarter of a billion pounds in its UK operations. Toyota says it will invest £240m to upgrade the Burnaston plant near Derby to enable production of vehicles using its new global manufacturing system. The carmaker says the investment will improve the plant’s competitiveness and promote UK supply chain efficiencies. Toyota has been making cars in the UK since 1992. The Burnaston plant makes the Auris and the Avensis models. Last year, the plant manufactured around 180,000 vehicles. Most are exported to the EU and elsewhere in the world. The Burnaston plant, together with Toyota’s engine plant at Deeside in North Wales, employ about 3,400 workers. The government is also providing £21.3m in funding for training, research and development and enhancements of the plants environmental performance. In January, the UK car industry trade body, the SMMT, indicated that uncertainty around Brexit and the UK’s future trading arrangements had hit investment in the sector. It said that total committed investment announcements in the automotive sector in 2016 were approximately £1.66bn across a number of companies. This figure was down from £2.5bn in 2015.