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Toyota Moving More Production to North America

Maker will maintain small “core” in Japan.

by on Aug.08, 2012

Toyota Motor Sales USA's top gaijin, Jim Lentz, revealing the A-BAT concept car.

Toyota expects to increase its already vast North American production network, a senior U.S. official revealed, adding niche products on top of the core vehicle lines that currently roll off an assortment of assembly lines in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The move comes as Toyota struggles to adapt to a changing world in which exchange rates now – and for the foreseeable future – make it increasingly costly to import vehicles from the home market, said Toyota’s top American executive, Jim Lentz.  Complicating matters, Toyota, like its competitors, have come to recognize how vulnerable Japanese operations are to disasters like the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the island nation in March 2011.

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But Toyota officials stress they will not completely abandon the company’s home base.

During a speech at the annual Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, MI, Lentz declined to provide much detail, only noting that, “We’ll have additional announcements down the road as more of cars are designed, built, sold and serviced right here in North America.”

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Toyota Will Export U.S. Camry to Korea

Maker continues hollowing out Japanese production base.

by on Dec.05, 2011

Toyota will begin exporting the American-made Camry to South Korea.

Toyota will begin shipping the Camry sedan from its Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant to South Korea – part of its continuing effort to offset a painful shift in exchange rates making it increasingly difficult to export from Japan.

The maker also will be shipping minivans from the U.S. to Korea.  The significant increase in shipping costs will be more than offset by more favorable exchange rates, however.  The yen has risen in value by nearly a third over the past year and is now trading in the range of 75 to the dollar.

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The decision to move both Camry and Sienna production from Japan to the U.S. underscores the continued hollowing out of the Japanese automotive production base – despite promises by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda to maintain manufacturing operations in the home market.  But manufacturers like Toyota and Honda have been forced to respond to not only the rising yen but also the risk of natural disasters that can devastate the island nation – like the earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11 bringing Japanese automotive production to a halt.

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