Toyota takes court action against former employee

Toyota Australias new corporate headquarters in Port Melbourne

TOYOTA Australia has launched Supreme Court action against one of its own workers and dumped its longstanding public relations partner in a dramatic week for the carmaker.

The carmaker confirmed to Wheels it had taken civil action this week “against a former employee” without disclosing why it had started proceedings.

However, it did explain the reason behind its decision to dump Sydney-based The Project Group, the public relations agency that has worked with the carmaker for the last 30 years.

"As part of the transition to a national sales, marketing and distribution company based in Melbourne, we conducted a detailed review of all elements of our business," Toyota Australia spokeswoman Beck Angel said.

"This review included many of our business partners. As a result of our review, we have decided to move our product PR business to another agency," she said.

A spokesman for The Project Group declined to comment on media speculation that the loss of the Toyota account to the rival Red Agency would lead to a number of job cuts at the group.

"The Project Group will work cooperatively with Toyota to assist in its transition to a sales and marketing company and in integrating its services into another agency," The Project Group director John Smailes said in a statement.

"The Project Group has enjoyed a 30-year working relationship with Toyota since the inception of Toyota Motor Corporation Australia."

Toyota is gearing up ahead of the October 6 deadline it has set itself to end almost 60 years of local assembly and production.

The company, which holds the largest share of the Australian market, accounts for about one in every four new cars sold in here.

Toyota's hearing is set for the NSW Supreme Court on April 26.

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