Toy­ota exec touts growth of pro­duc­tion in US

Global Times - Weekend - - AUTO -

Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp Pres­i­dent Akio Toy­oda said on Thurs­day his com­pany had in­creased its US pro­duc­tion in the past three decades, and that the Ja­panese brand should also be con­sid­ered as a US man­u­fac­turer.

Toy­oda’s com­ment comes as global au­tomak­ers face pres­sure from US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has de­manded that more au­to­mo­biles sold in the US be made lo­cally to in­crease jobs and shrink the US trade deficit.

Trump sin­gled out Toy­ota on Twit­ter in Jan­uary, crit­i­ciz­ing the plans by Ja­pan’s largest au­tomaker to build a sec­ond assem­bly plant south of the bor­der in Mex­ico.

Since then, Toy­ota has an­nounced plans to in­vest $10 bil­lion in its US op­er­a­tions to in­crease pro­duc­tion and cre­ate more jobs.

“Things are very dif­fer­ent in 2017 than they were in the 1980s. To­day, we pro­duce a large num­ber of cars lo­cally and we have de­vel­oped a strong lo­cal sup­ply chain,” Toy­oda told re­porters at an event in Tokyo, re­fer­ring to the US.

“We may be a Ja­panese brand ... but we’re also one of Amer­ica’s car mak­ers,” he noted.

The US is Toy­ota’s big­gest mar­ket, and ve­hi­cle sales in the coun­try com­prise around one-quar­ter of the au­tomaker’s global sales.

It op­er­ates 10 man­u­fac­tur­ing plants in the coun­try, and lo­cally pro­duces around 56 per­cent of its ve­hi­cles sold there, ac­cord­ing to cal­cu­la­tions based on com­pany data.

Trump has fo­cused on pro­tec­tion­ist trade poli­cies in his first weeks in of­fice, for­mally with­draw­ing the US from the Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship trade talks and has said he would rene­go­ti­ate the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA).

Toy­oda said his com­pany would adapt to any “rule changes” to the NAFTA trade deal be­tween the US, Mex­ico and Canada.

Au­to­mo­tive trade will be high on the agenda when Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe vis­its Trump in Wash­ing­ton for of­fi­cial meet­ings next week.

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