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.
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.”