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Toyota Eyes New Wave of Expansion

by on Apr.06, 2015

Toyota is expected to build the next-generation Corolla model at a new plant in Mexico.

With auto sales expected to increase in key market around the world, Toyota is apparently looking to expand its capacity by building new assembly plants in China and Mexico.

Press reports from Tokyo said that the Japanese auto giant anticipates investing $1.3 billion to build the new plants – a move that would reverse a ban on new factories imposed by Chairman Akio Toyoda when he took over as the company’s top executive.

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Just last week, senior Toyota officials announced the first part of their new growth plan, dubbed Toyota New Global Architecture, or TNGA. The use of the word was fitting, analysts noted, because a key step will be the introduction of new vehicle architectures, or platforms for at least half of its vehicles by 2020.


Toyota Freezing Plant Construction

Maker reportedly ordering 3-year hold.

by on Jan.10, 2013

According to a new report, Toyota wants to improve the efficiency of existing plants, not add new ones.

Toyota is planning to halt the construction of new plants around the world for at least the next three years, according to reports coming out of Japan. The decision represents a shift from Toyota’s previous policy of building new plants almost annually.

Officials from the Japanese auto giant have not commented directly on the reports. “I cannot discuss our business plans, but we consider it important to boost investment efficiency to secure medium-to- long-term growth,” a Toyota spokesman said.

Toyota, which last year again became the world’s largest automaker, would concentrate its capital investment on existing factories, the Nikkei business daily said.

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The company could officially announce the decision in a new management plan to be released in the coming months, Jiji Press said, as part of an overall effort to increase efficiency and cut costs. Like other Japanese carmakers, Toyota has been under intense pressure to control costs because of the steady increase in the valuation of the yen.


Toyota Won’t Abandon Japan

CEO Toyoda will maintain “illogical” Japanese production base.

by on Jul.15, 2011

It may be "illogical," but Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda won't give up on building cars like Prius in Japan.

As his nation struggles to rebuild after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, Toyota Motor Co. CEO Akio Toyoda says he won’t contribute to Japan‘s problems by shifting more automotive production offshore – even as it contributes billions of yen in losses to the world’s largest automaker.

There had been mounting fears in the troubled Asian nation – but hope among many investors – that the Toyota family heir would use the crisis to justify a shift away from the home market reliance that has made it difficult to resume production after the disaster.  Japan’s largest automaker, Toyota has traditionally positioned its hefty Japanese production base as a matter of civic responsibility, though in the weeks after March 11, Toyoda admitted it was becoming increasingly “illogical.”

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Toyota controls roughly half of the home market, but its production base there is far more than what’s needed simply to supply Japanese vehicle needs.  Competitors like Nissan have steadily fled offshore – Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn closing four Japanese plants since taking over that company’s reins in 1999.  But while most of Toyota’s growth has been fueled by new plants in places like North America, Europe and China, the maker has been reluctant to walk away from its original production base.

“Toyota is a company that was born and raised in Japan and we can’t just abandon it because the environment is difficult,” said the grandson of the company founder, insisting the automaker would “grit our teeth and protect Japanese manufacturing.”


Toyota U.S. Plants Due Back to Normal By September

Factories rebound ahead of expectations.

by on Jun.16, 2011

Toyota now expects to have production of all 12 models built in North America back up to normal by September.

Working with suppliers – and finding alternative sources, where necessary – Toyota today said it expects to have its North American vehicle production back to normal by September, notably earlier than it originally feared following the disastrous Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 11.

The entire Japanese auto industry has been feeling the pinch of parts shortages resulting from the March disaster, which struck Japan’s northeast coast, killing tens of thousands and damaging or destroying 100s of automotive parts facilities.

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Like most of the Japanese competitors, Toyota’s home market plants were shuttered for the better part of a month and its entire global factory network has been operating well below capacity since then.  Toyota was particularly vulnerable, however, because it produces significantly more vehicles in Japan than key rivals Nissan and Honda.


GM Goes to War

"War room" strategy could push GM past Toyota in 2011.

by on Apr.27, 2011

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda with the now-delayed Prius V.

General Motors has gone to war.  Struggling to avoid the sort of parts shortage problems crippling its Japanese rivals, the maker has assigned several hundred managers to three “war rooms,” in Detroit, Tokyo and Shanghai, with the aim of keeping its assembly lines stocked and running.

That’s no easy task in the wake of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear plant disasters that all but shut down the Japanese auto industry for more than a month.  Toyota alone lost about 542,000 units of production in March, it revealed this week, and the global sales leader does not expect to have its worldwide production network back up and running at full speed until November or December.

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Toyota is by no means alone, the March disaster hitting hard all of the Japanese automakers – and impacting virtually all major car companies worldwide to at least some degree.  GM, in fact, was forced to briefly close a plant in Louisiana, with two European plants also affected.  But the maker is working hard to ensure even worse problem don’t develop.  And if it can keep things running reasonably smoothly, industry analysts say GM will likely end 2011 as the global sales leader, a title it lost three years ago, shortly before its bankruptcy.

“The war rooms stay in touch around the clock and have the authority to move parts around as needed,” explained Tim Lee, head of GM International Operations.


Toyota Output Down 542 Thousand in March

Japanese makers reporting huge production losses after March 11 disaster.

by on Apr.25, 2011

Toyota is building Prius again - but at a reduced rate.

The devastating disaster that struck Japan last month has a calamitous impact on the world’s largest automaker, Toyota Motor Co. today reporting its global output fell by nearly a third in March — and with the company unlikely to resume normal production levels until the very end of 2011, Toyota seems all but certain to lose its position as industry sales leader.

But Toyota is by no means unique among Japanese makers.  The Asian nation’s powerful auto industry has been humbled by the combination of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power crisis that continues to wreak havoc on Japan’s manufacturing capabilities.

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Toyota has been especially hard hit because it depends more on Japanese assembly lines than other major Japanese makers, like Nissan and Honda, who have steadily shifted more and more of their production abroad.  But even those makers are struggling because of their continuing dependence on Japanese-made parts shipped to so-called “transplant” assembly lines in North America, Europe and other parts of the world.

Toyota’s Japanese-based plants were all but shut down in the wake of the March 11 disaster, vehicle output for the month plunging to just 129,491, a 63% decline.  Of that number, 107,751 were exported, a 33% drop from year-earlier levels.


Toyota Extends Production Cuts at U.S. Plants

Will continue operating at reduced speed at least through June.

by on Apr.20, 2011

Toyota extends production cuts outside Japan.

Still struggling with a shortage of Japanese-made parts, Toyota says it will extend production cuts at its North American “transplant” factories until at least June – but says the move will not result in any layoffs.

Like its Japanese competitors, Toyota has been struggling to get its operations back up to speed in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami – and subsequent nuclear crisis – that devastated Japan. The maker’s home assembly plants were down for a month, resulting in the loss of over a quarter million vehicles of production.

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But the cuts have been extended to other parts of the world, where Toyota’s factories depend on at least some Japanese-made components.

Shortly after the March disaster, Toyota suspended overtime work at its U.S. operations. It now says that from this Friday through June 3 North American plants will operate at half capacity on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and shut down entirely on Mondays and Fridays.


Toyota’s Japanese Plants Set to Re-open

But maker will still operate at half capacity -- and only temporarily.

by on Apr.08, 2011

Not out of the woods, yet. Toyota will resume Japanese production only temporarily.

More than a month after Japan was wracked by a series of natural disasters – and the subsequent crisis at a nuclear plant – Toyota Motor Co. is preparing to reopen its home market plants.

The maker revealed today it will resume operations on April 18th through at least the 27th, but at only half the normal capacity of that expansive production network.  The 18 factories will then shut down again from April 28 through May 9, a traditionally holiday period in Japan.

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The industry giant reports it has lost about 260,000 units of production since its factories were shut down by the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan.  It is unclear how many additional units Toyota will lose due to maintaining a reduced production schedule.

And it remains unclear what the maker’s plans will be following the Golden Week holiday.  Toyota officials say they are slowly resolving problems related to parts shortages caused by the March 11 disaster.  But they still are facing problems with at least 150 parts and components.