Toy­ota in­vests $391 mil. in Texas truck assem­bly plant

The Korea Times - - WORLD BUSINESS -

WASH­ING­TON (Reuters) — Toy­ota Mo­tor said on Tues­day it was in­vest­ing $391 mil­lion in its pickup truck assem­bly plant in San An­to­nio, Texas, as part of the Ja­pa­nese au­tomaker’s plan to in­vest $13 bil­lion in its U.S. op­er­a­tions over five years through 2021.

The com­pany said the in­vest­ment will be used to in­tro­duce ad­vance man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nolo­gies at the plant and also to help with the de­vel­op­ment and ed­u­ca­tion of the lo­cal work­force.

Christo­pher Reynolds, Toy­ota Mo­tor North Amer­ica’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, told Reuters the in­vest­ment could al­low the com­pany to even­tu­ally boost the plant’s ca­pac­ity but no de­ci­sion has been made.

Reynolds added that the com­pany was “bullish” on the fu­ture of its U.S. truck sales, which are up 4 per­cent this year.

Toy­ota’s San An­to­nio truck plant as­sem­bles full-size Tun­dra and mid­size Ta­coma pickup trucks and along with its on-site sup­pli­ers em­ploys more than 7,200 work­ers at the plant com­plex.

Sep­a­rately, Aisin AW said it was in­vest­ing $400 mil­lion in a fu­ture fa­cil­ity to pro­duce au­to­matic trans­mi­sions for Toy­ota and other au­tomak­ers that will em­ploy 900 peo­ple in Ci­bolo, Texas.

Texas Gov­er­nor Greg Ab­bott praised the in­vest­ment an­nounce­ments, which came a day af­ter U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Wash­ing­ton had struck trade agree­ments with Tokyo that could be im­ple­mented with­out con­gres­sional ap­proval.

But Trump’s an­nounce­ment left un­clear whether he had agreed not to im­pose threat­ened na­tional se­cu­rity tar­iffs on Ja­pa­nese ve­hi­cles and auto parts.

Avoid­ing the “Sec­tion 232” tar­iffs of up to 25 per­cent was a ma­jor mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor for Tokyo in ne­go­ti­at­ing with Wash­ing­ton on trade.

Over much of the past year, the scope of talks has nar­rowed to ex­clude the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor, the source of most of the $67 bil­lion U.S. trade deficit with Ja­pan.

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in Au­gust an­nounced an agree­ment in prin­ci­ple on a deal that cov­ered re­duc­tions in tar­iffs on agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial goods, but not au­tos. Abe has re­peat­edly em­pha­sized the sig­nif­i­cant U.S. in­vest­ments of Ja­pa­nese au­tomak­ers and parts man­u­fac­tur­ers to Trump.

Reuters-Yon­hap

Toy­ota logo is shown at the Los An­ge­les Auto Show in Los An­ge­les, Calif., in this Nov. 30, 2017 file photo.

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