San Antonio Toyota Plant to Crank Out Tacomas

By: KENS5.COM Email
By: KENS5.COM Email

Toyota plans to shift production of its Tacoma line of vehicles from California to the San Antonio Toyota plant, city and county officials announced at a news conference in San Antonio.

The company announced earlier Thursday that it will end production in March 2010 at its California joint venture where it has built vehicles with General Motors.

"The decision about Tacoma production was difficult, given the impact on employees and suppliers in California," Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas president Kenji Fukuta said in a company news release.

"Here in Texas, the addition of the Tacoma to the Tundra production line will better utilize our plant's capacity and the 21 supplier facilities on our site," he said.

Toyota's board voted early Thursday to end the company's production contract at the Fremont, Calif.-based New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., spokeswoman Cindy Knight confirmed.

A published report in a Japanese newspaper stated last month that Toyota has had plans in place to move production of the Tacoma to San Antonio, fueling speculation that the San Antonio plant soon would add more than a thousand jobs.

“Today’s announcement reflects the depth of the ties between Toyota and Texas while underscoring the strength of our state’s workforce and job climate," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a news release. "Even in the midst of a national economic downturn, major employers continue to bring jobs and investment in Texas."

The company says that about 1,000 jobs could be coming to San Antonio, but details on those openings are not yet available.

Toyota had said previously that it was moving toward liquidating its stake in the California NUMMI facility after the plant's fate was thrown into question in June when GM announced it was withdrawing from the 50-50 joint venture. General Motors Co. emerged from bankruptcy and the company's stake in the NUMMI plant is now part of Motors Liquidation Co. -- also known as Old GM -- where it will be liquidated under court supervision.

The NUMMI plant, established in 1984, employs 4,600 workers. Toyota builds the Corolla compact car and the Tacoma pickup truck at the plant and until recently GM built the Pontiac Vibe station wagon there.

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