Toyota revealed Friday it plans to shift production of its popular Tacoma midsize pickup to Mexico from the U.S. as part of a larger reallocation of resources during the next two years.
The passage of the new NAFTA allows automakers to build vehicles in Mexico without being penalized by substantial tariffs. Toyota plans to move the Tacoma from its plant in San Antonio, Texas, to a plant in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Toyota said the moves are designed to improve “operational speed, competitiveness and transformation at its North American vehicle assembly plants based on platforms and common architectures.” The new plant boasts a production capacity of 266,000 units annually while the company sold nearly 249,000 Tacomas last year, according to the company.
The automaker is in the midst of a $13 billion investment plan for its U.S. operations during a five-year period through 2021. To date, Toyota has committed approximately $7.1 billion of the announced total; cumulative direct investment in the U.S. exceeds $28.4 billion.
In addition to moving the Tacoma, the Japanese automaker also plans to end production of its full-size Sequoia sport-utility in Indiana by 2022. The plant will focus on the brand’s midsize SUV and minivans: Highlander, Highlander Hybrid and the Toyota Sienna.
The company invested $1.3 billion at the Princeton, Indiana plant to make the changes and will add 550 new jobs at the site. Toyota will shift production of the Sequoia in 2022 to Texas and that plant will end production of the Tacoma by late 2021.
“Part of Toyota’s tremendous success in North America is building vehicles where we sell them,” said Christopher Reynolds, chief administration officer, manufacturing and corporate resources for TMNA.
“Our $1.3 billion investment at TMMI is further proof that our Hoosier workforce is rededicated to producing safer, high-quality vehicles our customers love to drive.”
Toyota’s San Antonio plant will focus on production of full-size, body-on-frame trucks and SUVs. It will continue to assemble the Toyota Tundra and will begin assembly of the Toyota Sequoia starting in 2022. It will cease production of the Toyota Tacoma by late 2021.
Production capacity at the San Antonio plant remains at 208,000 units annually, and last summer, it announced a $391 million new investment for multivehicle production capabilities. The facility’s total investment tops $3 billion and it employs 3,200 people.