Toyota exec touts growth of production in US
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.