Tennessee is so 2011 for the UAW. The hot new locale for foreign plant organizing campaigns is Mississippi, where the UAW is trying to organize workers at a Nissan truck plant.
Mississippi is starting to get a bit shirty with Toyota. ABC News reports that Mississippi legislators are getting annoyed with Toyota because of the lack of clarity as to when Toyota will start paying the interest on the money the state borrowed to bring Toyota’s car plant to Mississippi. Tate Reeves, State treasurer, told lawmakers during a briefing that discussions are ongoing about when Toyota would begin making payments. The State of Mississippi has already paid about $16.7 million in interest. However, Toyota have a different take on affairs.
Asiaone Motoring reports that Toyota are now pushing forward on their constructions of plants in the United States and China which had previously been put on hold. It should come as no surprise that part of the reasoning behind this decision is to meet growing demand in China. More importantly, Toyota needs to protect itself from the strong yen, a consideration that now apparently outweighs weakness in the US market. The report says that Toyota is expected to invest and additional 100 billion yen (about $1.1b) to get these plants completed. Although these plants will increase capacity by 200,000 units, Toyota plan on halting production on lines in Japan and the UK, as the firm must still reduce capacity by 1 million units in order for this investment to work. Though the move is a clever one, it highlights the enormous pressure the world’s number one automaker finds itself under: overcapacity is bad enough, but when so much of its production is based in Japan, it deal with reduced production while paying for expansions in cheaper production zones. The upside? This plan could lead to US production of the Prius at the under-construction Mississippi plant sooner than expected.