Toy­ota to in­vest $10 bil­lion in US

Manila Bulletin - - Business News -

DETROIT (AFP) – Toy­ota will in­vest $10 bil­lion in the United States (US) over the next five years, the com­pany said Mon­day at the an­nual Detroit auto show.

The an­nounce­ment comes just days af­ter US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump crit­i­cized the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer for a pre­vi­ously-an­nounced re­lo­ca­tion of Toy­ota Corolla pro­duc­tion to Mex­ico.

Toy­ota will de­vote a ma­jor­ity of the new in­vest­ment to im­prov­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing plants, spokes­woman Amanda Sawyer Roark said in an email to AFP.

''This in­vest­ment also in­cludes our new head­quar­ters in Plano and re­search into au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles and robotics,'' she said.

The com­pany de­clined to say whether the in­vest­ments would lead to the cre­ation of new jobs, a key mantra of the in­com­ing US pres­i­dent, who has re­peat­edly tar­geted au­tomak­ers with his tweets.

Toy­ota, the world's largest au­tomaker, em­ploys 40,000 peo­ple in the United States, of which 5,000 were hired in the last five years.

Last Thurs­day, Trump tweeted about Toy­ota's Mex­ico plans, say­ing, in part: ''NO WAY! Build plant in US or pay big border tax.''

Like other com­pa­nies Trump has at­tacked on Twit­ter, the threat wor­ried the Ja­panese auto in­dus­try, and Toy­ota's share price fell on the Tokyo Stock Ex­change.

Toy­ota re­sponded with a re­minder of its ex­ist­ing US in­vest­ments.

''With more than $21.9bil­lion di­rect in­vest­ment in the US ... Toy­ota looks for­ward to col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion to serve in the best in­ter­ests of con­sumers and the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try,'' the com­pany said in a state­ment.

In ad­di­tion to Toy­ota, Trump also has crit­i­cized – and threat­ened with sim­i­lar treat­ment – Gen­eral Mo­tors and Ford for re­lo­cat­ing pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties to Mex­ico in or­der to take ad­van­tage of cheaper la­bor un­der free­trade rules.

Ford last week scrapped a $1.6-bil­lion in­vest­ment in Mex­ico and then said on the first day of the auto show that it would re­vive two iconic Amer­i­can ve­hi­cles, the Bronco sports util­ity and Ranger pickup, build­ing them in Michi­gan.

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