Toyota Australia will start exporting its new locally built four-cylinder engines to Thailand and Malaysia, cementing its position as Australia’s leading car manufacturer.

This is the first time Toyota Australia has sold standalone engines to Thailand and Malaysia.

Approximately 18,000 engines are expected to be exported in 2013, while more than 90,000 engines will be fitted to Toyota Australia’s locally built Camry and Camry Hybrid sedans for domestic and export markets.

Toyota Australia’s Executive Director of Manufacturing and Purchasing, Chris Harrod, said it was a proud day for the company and all those involved.

“Our employees have worked incredibly hard to secure the investment for the new engine plant and ensure that we are producing the best quality engines,” Harrod said.

“The fact that we were able to secure new export markets in Thailand and Malaysia is testament to the quality of our work and the positive reputation Toyota Australia has amongst our affiliates.

“It also shows good cooperation and support from the Toyota group within the ASEAN region, which has allowed us to further expand our engagement and linkage to the Toyota global network.

“We are now one of only four countries to produce this particular engine and are the only Australian manufacturer to produce both petrol and hybrid engines.”

Harrod said both petrol and hybrid engines will be shipped to Thailand and Malaysia, with the first shipment expected to arrive in February 2013.

It comes after the new Altona engine plant was officially opened by Toyota Australia President and CEO Max Yasuda, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu in December last year.

Approximately 108,000 engines will be produced this year, of which 85 per cent will be petrol engines and 15 per cent hybrid.

Full production of the new four cylinder AR series engine commenced earlier this week.