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Toyota To Shift Production to Texas and Ontario

NUMMI is victim of the Great Recession and ongoing losses.

by on Aug.28, 2009

A flop at sales of  units a month.

A flop at sales of 6,000 units a month.

Toyota Motor Corporation plans to transfer some Tacoma compact pickup truck production from the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant in California to Texas in a bid to improve the productivity of its relatively new truck plant in San Antonio.

The Texas plant is widely considered a big money-loser because it was built to produce about 240,000 full-size pickup tucks per year, with expansion plans to double that, but will probably end up building about 70,000 trucks this year. Total Tundra sales through June of this year were 36,000 units.

However, given the modest volume involved — Tacoma in the first six months of this year sold 53,000 units — adding in the compact pickup truck to the model mix at San Antonio may not be enough to make the plant profitable.

Sales of Tundra full-size pickup have never approached Toyota’s ambitious targets; and the continuing strength of GM and Ford in the full size  truck market is making it very difficult for Toyota to gain market share.

TMC Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi said that Toyota also will now expand production of the Corolla in Cambridge, Ontario to offset the loss of production at NUMMI, which had been the principal source of compact Corolla models for the North American market. Corolla production will now cease at NUMMI in March 2010, Nimmi said.

Niimi also said that Toyota will also have to increase imports of Corollas after NUMMI closes — so the company is protecting jobs in Japan where it has just closed an assembly line at one of its plants. In the medium to long-term, however, Toyota claims it would like to increase Corolla production in the U.S. Reading between the lines, however, Niimi’s remarks indicate that Toyota’s plans for further expansion in the U.S. have been shelved as it will to to save  Japanese jobs as it contracts to stop multi-billion dollar losses.  Niimi also implied that General Motors should get some of the blame for the closing of the Fremont plant.


Toyota Kills NUMMI

by on Aug.27, 2009

NUMMI located in Fremont, California, was the only vehicle assembly plant in the state.

NUMMI was the only vehicle assembly plant in the state that is the single largest U.S. auto market

Toyota Motor Corporation’s board of directors has decided to close the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont, California despite some last minute pleas by political figures in California.

The plant is now scheduled to close in March, according to new reports on the West Coast, which quoted city officials in Fremont, California.

“Toyota’s announcement that it will close the NUMMI plant is devastating news for thousands of workers in California,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger.

Friends of NUMMI, a group recently organized in California to oppose the shutdown, also declined to comment on the reports.

Nonetheless, the reports were consistent with the news leaking out of Japan for the past week, which said the plant was doomed. Ironically, the plant had been the source of the Toyota Corollas that were the top car sold through the “Cash for Clunkers” program that ended earlier this week.

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The shut down of the plant will wipe out 5,300 jobs and could lead to the loss of more than 30,000 other jobs across California, where the unemployment rate just passed 12%.


Fear and Loathing Mount Around NUMMI

California’s last assembly plant is on the bubble.

by on Aug.25, 2009


Toyota is reportedly prepared to make an announcement as soon as this Friday.

California state legislators in Sacramento are planning to introduce a resolution calling on Toyota to keep open the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont.

The legislation is being marked as a legislative priority and supporters are hoping to have it adopted before Toyota makes any kind of announcement about the fate of the plant, which employs 5,300 workers.

Toyota is reportedly prepared to make an announcement as soon as this Friday, setting out a timetable for closing the factory, which is last auto plant on the West Coast.

“We’re still trying to be optimistic,” said Tracy Rosen, a spokeswoman for “Friends of NUMMI,” which is described as a group of families, workers, suppliers and local businesses from throughout the state of California. The group is trying to persuade Toyota and the newly reorganized General Motors Company to consider the total loss in jobs, the impact on suppliers, local businesses and families that will be devastated by the plant’s impending closure.

The group estimates more than 50,000 jobs in California are now connected to the NUMMI plant and its shutdown will have a huge impact on the state’s distressed economy, which already has double-digit employment rates.