Toyota is serious thinking of breaking a taboo. It is considering moving some production of its Lexus luxury brand from Japan to the United States, says Reuters. The oddest part: The Japanese government might help Toyota to move the jobs out of the country.
A likely option would be making the Lexus ES in the United States instead of Japan, Toyota’s U.S. chief Jim Lentz told Reuters. ”With where the yen is today, I think it’s only a matter of time” before Toyota moves more production to North America, particularly to the United States, to have assembly nearer to the U.S. market, Lentz said.
The Japanese government said yesterday it would extend its dollar credit facility, which helps Japanese companies invest overseas.
Except for the Lexus RX crossover, which is built in Ontario, Canada, all of the Lexus production is stubbornly kept in Japan. Most of the Lexus sales are abroad, especially in the U.S.A. Privately, executives at Toyota always maintain that this is in order to keep the quality high. This decision has cost Lexus sales and profits, especially in China, where imported cars carry high duties.
Lentz said that in addition to the strong yen, moving production would be driven by engineering capabilities in the United States. At Toyota’s engineering center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, more than 1,100 engineers are employed.
On July 6, 2012, the first 2013 Lexus ES rolled off the line at Toyota’s Miyawaka plant (picture.)