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Toyota Resumes Hiring at Stalled Assembly Plant

New, non-union plant to build Corolla beginning in fall of 2011.

by on Aug.23, 2010

Toyota's tenth U.S. plant opens next fall.

Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi and officials from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc. (TMMMS) announced today that the company is resuming hiring at its Blue Springs plant where the next generation Corolla compact car will be built.

Toyota is now finished with the construction of the plant that was put on hold in late in 2008 when the reckless practices of Wall Street caused the collapse of the global economy.

Instead of building Prius hybrid models as previously announced, the $1.3 billion facility will make Corolla models instead, starting late next year. Initially the plant was going to produce Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicles when the project got underway in 2007. The collapse of the truck market and failure of the Tundra full-size pickup truck have forced the Japanese maker to rebalance its production in the U.S. while protecting Japanese jobs in Japan.

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Informed!

The decision to hire as many as 2,000 workers in anti-union Mississippi is the latest setback for the beleaguered United Auto Workers union since Corollas were previously built in a unionized plant – NUMMI – in Fremont, California that Toyota shut in March. Corollas for North America have been built in Japan since April.

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New UAW President Challenges Transplants

King says union can help makers become more successful.

by on Aug.02, 2010

The new president of the UAW is calling on non-unionized auto companies in the U.S. to offer to their employees the opportunity to join the union.

Bob King says union can help automakers become more successful. Not all will agree.

Making his first public remarks since ascending to the presidency in June, Bob King said at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City that the United Auto Workers wants to see workers across the world have the right to organize to obtain better working conditions, pay and benefits. To do that, he wants to start at home, focusing on transplant automakers, all of which are currently not unionized.

The UAW of course has been spectacularly unsuccessful in doing so for generations now, and in fact has just lost its only unionized plant with an offshore maker, a joint venture in Fremont California between General Motors and Toyota.

“We want workers to have a free, democratic choice,” King said. “That doesn’t happen in America today.”

King said he would prefer to work cooperatively with employers to offer unionization to companies. But he repeatedly said that if the companies won’t work with the union, the UAW won’t be afraid to fight. The question is how?

“We offer respect and we expect respect in return,” King said.

If employees turn down unionization in a fair election, the union will respect that, King said.

Fighting to build the middle class is at the core of what the UAW has done since it was founded 75 years ago, King said.

King said that the UAW has shown a willingness to work cooperatively with the Detroit Three automakers, making the controversial decision to accept concessions. Now, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have all shown signs of sustainability. Additionally, quality scores show that UAW workers are helping to build quality products, he said.
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Toyota Restarts Work on Mississippi Plant

New, non-union plant to build Corolla beginning in fall of 2011.

by on Jun.17, 2010

Mississippi taxpayers provided almost $300 million in incentives to the Japanese company.

Toyota is resuming construction of its Blue Springs, Mississippi plant that was put on hold in late in 2008 as the reckless practices of Wall Street caused the collapse of the global economy.

Instead of building Prius hybrid models as previously announced, though, the $1.3 billion facility will make Corolla compact models instead. Initially the plant was going to produce the Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle when the project got underway in 2007.

The decision is the latest setback for the beleaguered United Auto Workers union since Corollas were previously built in a unionized plant – NUMMI – in Fremont, California that Toyota shut in March. Corollas for North America have been built in Japan since April.

The decision to close NUMMI was controversial, to put it mildly,  since California is Toyota’s largest market by far, and the home of Toyota’s U.S. headquarters.

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Informed!

Toyota said in a statement that it would hire 2,000 “team members” and build the Corolla sedan beginning in the fall of 2011. Through May of this year, Toyota has sold more than 118,000 Corollas in the U.S.   (more…)

NUMMI UAW Local Votes to Take Toyota Severance

Toyota offer was contingent on a gag order that looks to prevent free speech. Union workers had little choice.

by on Mar.18, 2010

Toyota moves production to a non-union plant even though California is its largest U.S. market.

About 4500 members of UAW Local 2244 voted today to accept a $281-million severance pay package offered by Toyota, which is closing New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. on April 1. Ratification was approved by 90%.

It is the only auto assembly plant in Toyota’s largest market in the United States.  (Click Here for Toyota Sweetens NUMMI Closure Severance)

The joint venture between Toyota and General Motors was making  the Toyota Corolla sedan and Tacoma compact pickup truck. Production of the Pontiac Vibe ceased there last August.

NUMMI repeatedly won J.D. Power  awards for quality.

Production is being moved to a non-union plant in Texas. Tens of thousands of jobs at the plant and its suppliers will be eliminated. The severance package only applies to union members.

Part of the Toyota offer stipulated a gag order.

“I believe (it) violates our First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, and our rights to Freedom of Association under the Labor Rights Conventions of the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO),” says local 2244 President Sergio Santos.   (more…)

Toyota Sweetens NUMMI Closure Severance Deal

UAW to vote on severance package as Toyota closes California’s only auto final assembly plant next month in its largest market.

by on Mar.16, 2010

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

The United Auto Workers union says it has reached a tentative agreement with Toyota to shut down California’s only final assembly auto plant, New United Motor Manufacturing, Incorporated (NUMMI). About 4,600 workers will be affected when the plant shuts on April 1.

Details of the severance packages were not released, pending ratification by union members of Local 2244, but people close to situation say payments of between $20,000 and $70,000 per worker are offered, depending on length of service. The time and date for a ratification vote has not been determined at this time, but the vote will probably take place later this week.

Earlier this month, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMA) said that Toyota has committed $250 million to its contracted manufacturer New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) to fund transition support for NUMMI’s salaried and hourly team members, who assemble Toyota Corolla sedan and Toyota Tacoma pickup models. It is the only unionized Toyota plant in the United States.

NUMMI started 25 years ago as a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors. At the time of the GM bankruptcy last summer, about 10% of NUMMI’s production was for GM vehicles.

GM Jettisons Another Japanese Partner

First, Toyota and NUMMI. Now, Suzuki and CAMI.

by on Dec.04, 2009

The first 2005 Chevy Equinox rolls off the line at the CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario on February 20, 2004.

First Chevy Equinox off the line at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, February 2004.

General Motors of Canada today announced that it would acquire 100% ownership of CAMI Automotive Incorporated through a transaction to buy shares currently owned by long-time 50% partner Suzuki Motor Corporation.

GM previously ended a link with Suzuki in Asia during November 2008.

No financial details of the latest transaction were released, and it should have no effect on potential customers.

Last June, GM abandoned its pioneering joint venture, NUMMI, with Toyota Motor Corporation in Fremont, California. Toyota has since decided to close the plant located in its largest U.S. market.

GM’s latest move is in keeping with employment agreements with the federal and provincial Canadian governments that were part of the taxpayer financing agreements necessary to bring GM out of bankruptcy in July.

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How Detroit Helped Give Its Market Away

Transplants increasingly dominate U.S. production.

by on Sep.14, 2009

Detroit dared the Japanese to "build cars where you sell them." Initially reluctant, makers like Honda -- which opened the first Japanese auto "transplant," in Marysville, Ohio, in 1982 - soon embraced the idea.

Detroit dared the Japanese to "build cars where you sell them." Initially reluctant, makers like Honda - which opened the first Japanese auto "transplant," in Marysville, Ohio, in 1982 - soon embraced the idea.

Be careful what you ask for, goes the old axiom, as you just might get it.  Someone should have told that to Harold “Red” Poling, the former Ford Motor Co. Chairman, who liked to taunt the Japanese, back in the early 1980s, to “build them where you sell them.”

Back then, the imports were still a relatively modest, if fast-growing force, and buoyed by a lopsided exchange rate, makers like Toyota and Honda were able to sharply undercut their Big Three foes.  Eliminate the yen from the equation, went the conventional Detroit wisdom, and the imports would lose their competitive edge.

It was an era when the mantra, “Buy American,” still resonated with some buyers, especially when spoken by the likes of Lee Iacocca, the Chrysler chairman and consummate TV pitchman.

Transplant to TheDetroitBureau.com

Transplant to TheDetroitBureau.com

But what really mattered to the Asian makers was the passage of so-called “voluntary” restraints on Japanese automotive imports.  The severe limits initially appeared to provide a real advantage for Detroit, immediately reducing both the sales and share of brands like Toyota.  If there weren’t enough Corollas, import-oriented buyers would have to settle for Ford Escorts and Chevrolet Cavaliers.  Better yet, Detroit could raise its prices – by hundreds of dollars per vehicle, according to research of that era, since it didn’t have to compete so hard.

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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.

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UAW Extends Toyota Talks Deadline

The fate of 5,000 NUMMI workers hangs in the balance.

by on Aug.12, 2009

The UAW is hoping to prevent the closure of the 26-year-old NUMMI venture, near San Francisco.

The UAW is hoping to prevent the closure of the 26-year-old NUMMI venture, near San Francisco.

The United Auto Workers has extended its deadline in talks with Toyota Motor Corporation over the fate of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, California. The UAW’s existing contract with NUMMI expired at midnight August 9th, but the five-day extension, which could be extended again, was already in place, according to union sources familiar with the bargaining. “We’re still bargaining,” one source said.

The Fremont NUMMI plant employs 5,400 workers.

Jimmy Settles, the UAW vice president responsible for the negotiations, also has skipped the union board meeting in Northern Michigan to attend to the bargaining. Last year, Settles successfully negotiated a package of concessions that helped persuade Mitsubishi to keep open its plant in Normal, Illinois, which was then operating at less than 40% capacity.

Toyota’s new chief executive Akio Toyoda said last week during a visit to the US that the company had not made a decision on closing the Fremont plant, which it operated through a joint venture with General Motors Corporation.

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Battle Over NUMMI Escalates

UAW aiming to rally support to keep CA plant open.

by on Jul.28, 2009

The UAW is firing the first salvo hoping to prevent the closure of the 26-year-old NUMMI venture, near San Francisco.

The UAW is firing the first salvo hoping to prevent the closure of the 26-year-old NUMMI venture, near San Francisco.

The United Auto Workers and its union allies have quietly launched a campaign aimed at pressuring Toyota not to close the NUMMI plant in California now threatened by the break-up of a long-standing joint venture between the Japanese maker and General Motors.

The e-mail-based campaign is urging supporters of the UAW to call their Congressmen and encourage them to keep the plant in Fremont, California open.

The factory, originally a GM plant, has been running for a quarter century as part of an alliance between the two erstwhile competitors.  Toyota originally saw the joint venture as a way to test the possibility of producing cars in the U.S., while GM hoped to learn about Japanese manufacturing techniques.

Your inside source!

Your inside source!

The U.S. maker decided to abandon its position in NUMMI after emerging from bankruptcy since it is dropping the Pontiac brand and the marque’s Vibe is the only GM model now made at Fremont.  Without its U.S. partner, Toyota has said it had little interest in retaining NUMMI, its only unionized American factory.

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