People walk near Toyota Motor Corp's Durban car factory.

Johannesburg - Toyota is to invest 1 billion rand ($90 million) in production of its Corolla model in South Africa, giving a vote of confidence to the local auto sector after strikes last year led some to reconsider investment in the country.

Wage-related stoppages in 2013 prompted BMW to say it was freezing expansion plans in the country and left others in a sector that accounts for 6 percent of GDP considering how much to invest there.

But Toyota said on Tuesday it was pressing on with the investment as part of an expansion that began in 2012.

“The ... investment is the second to be announced in the current phase of capital expansion that started with the 363 million rand new parts distribution centre in Gauteng in 2012,” Toyota said in a statement.

However Toyota South Africa president and chief executive Johan van Zyl acknowledged last year's production disruption had damaged the company's reputation.

“We will have to work hard to find a mutually beneficial solution with our labour partners to stabilise production for both the local and export market,” he added. - Reuters