Toy­ota, Mazda part­ner­ing on $1.6-bil­lion U.S. plant

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - TOM KRISHER AND YURI KAGEYAMA

TOKYO — Ja­panese au­tomak­ers Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp. and Mazda Mo­tor Corp. plan to spend $1.6 bil­lion to jointly build an auto man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in the U.S. — a move that will cre­ate up to 4,000 jobs, both sides said Fri­day.

The plant will have an an­nual pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of about 300,000 ve­hi­cles, and will pro­duce Toy­ota Corol­las as well as a new Mazda cross­over ve­hi­cle for the North Amer­i­can mar­ket.

Toy­ota wouldn’t say where the plant would be built. But be­cause the new plant will build the Corolla, chances are it will be lo­cated near Toy­ota’s cur­rent Corolla plant in Mis­sis­sippi to be close to parts sup­ply com­pa­nies. The com­pa­nies ex­pect the plant to be­gin op­er­a­tions by 2021.

Toy­ota said it changed its plan to make Corol­las at a plant in Gua­na­ju­ato, Mex­ico, now un­der con­struc­tion, af­ter re­assess­ing the mar­ket. In­stead it will pro­duce Tacoma pick­ups there, Toy­ota pres­i­dent Akio Toy­oda said.

In 2015, Toy­ota an­nounced it would shift pro­duc­tion of Corol­las from its plant in Cam­bridge to Mex­ico. It later an­nounced that it would re­place Corolla pro­duc­tion in Cam­bridge with ex­panded pro­duc­tion of the RAV4 sport util­ity ve­hi­cle, which also is as­sem­bled in the com­pany’s plant in Wood­stock.

The Toy­ota-Mazda agree­ment doesn’t af­fect plans for Toy­ota Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ing Canada.

Corolla pro­duc­tion is still ex­pected to end in Cam­bridge in 2019, re­placed with the RAV4, and the plant in Mis­sis­sippi will con­tinue to pro­duce Corol­las. In an email, Baal said Toy­ota will closely mon­i­tor mar­ket con­di­tions and con­sider back-up pro­duc­tion of the Corolla in Ja­pan if nec­es­sary.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump had crit­i­cized Toy­ota and other au­tomak­ers for tak­ing pro­duc­tion to Mex­ico, say­ing ve­hi­cles for the U.S. mar­ket should be built by U.S. work­ers. Toy­oda de­nied Trump’s views in­flu­enced his de­ci­sion.

Trump wel­comed the an­nounce­ment in a tweet: “Toy­ota & Mazda to build a new $1.6B plant here in the U.S.A. and cre­ate 4K new Amer­i­can jobs. A great in­vest­ment in Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing!”

Toy­ota plans to ac­quire a 5.05 per cent stake in Mazda, val­ued at 50 bil­lion yen ($455 mil­lion). Mazda, which makes the Mi­ata road­ster, will ac­quire 50 bil­lion yen worth of Toy­ota shares, the equiv­a­lent of a 0.25 per cent stake.

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