San Antonio Snags NUMMI's Tacoma Production

John Horner
by John Horner

The typically boosterish San Antonio Business Journal sees nothing but blue skies and green lights ahead as the decades long move of manufacturing jobs out of California and into Texas continues with the announcement that the Tacoma is moving into the brand spanking new San Antonio factory. San Antonio has been busy not building very many Tundras, so locals there are thrilled at the prospect of feasting on NUMMI’s loss. “Year to date through July, Toyota says it sold 42,419 Tundras — down 52.6 percent from the same seven-month period in 2008. The news isn’t much better for the Tacoma, a smaller truck. During the first seven months of this year, Toyota sold 65,713 Tacomas. It sold 95,732 Tacomas during the same selling period in 2008.” Toyota will have to spend an estimated $100 million tooling up San Antonio to build Tacomas, but the combined volume of Tundras and Tacomas still will not fill the San Antonio factory unless something dramatic happens to increase Toyota’s truck sales.If you ask me, the real mistake was in building a huge new dedicated pickup truck factory in Texas with which to attempt to conquer a market segment Toyota has failed repeatedly to penetrate. The huge new San Antonio plant was a massive PR effort aimed at making Toyota a legitimate player in the US large pickup truck market. That gambit failed. The smarter move would have been to mothball San Antonio, go back to making the Tundra in Indiana and keep the fully depreciated NUMMI factory building small cars and small trucks. But, no, image is everything and Toyota would never admit to making a big mistake on the massive San Antonio project. GM’s exit from NUMMI makes it easy for Toyota to close that factory and blame someone else. Toyota closed NUMMI because it was the most face saving way to reduce overcapacity.

John Horner
John Horner

More by John Horner

Join the conversation
2 of 32 comments
  • Tommy Boy Tommy Boy on Aug 28, 2009

    Was the UAW the only factor? No. But many of the "bad management decisions" were compelled by the economic realities of having to cut corners elsewhere to offset the higher costs of the UAW being on the premises. Not just direct hourly labor costs but also legacy costs, strike costs, overhead having to deal with grievances and negotiating, and the featherbedding and inefficiency of UAW work rules. Costs not borne by their union free competition. Hence the squeeze on suppliers and lower quality components, the Fisher-Price interiors etc.

  • John Horner John Horner on Aug 29, 2009

    Caterpillar management had the guts to drive a hard bargain with the UAW. GM & friends didn't.

  • Stephen My "mid-level" limited edition Tonino Lambo Ferraccio Junior watch has performed flawlessly with attractive understated style for nearly 20 years. Their cars are not so much to my taste-- my Acura NSX is just fine. Not sure why you have such condescension towards these excellent timepieces. They are attractive without unnecessary flamboyance, keep perfect time and are extremely reliable. They are also very reasonably priced.
  • Dana You don’t need park, you set auto hold (button on the console). Every BMW answers to ‘Hey, BMW’, but you can set your own personal wake word in iDrive. It takes less than 5 minutes to figure that that out, btw. The audio stays on which is handy for Teams meetings. Once your phone is out of range, the audio is stopped on the car. You can always press down on the audio volume wheel which will mute it, if it bothers you. I found all the controls very intuitive.
  • ToolGuy Not sure if I've ever said this, or if you were listening:• Learn to drive, people.Also, learn which vehicles to take home with you and which ones to walk away from. You are an adult now, think for yourself. (Those ads are lying to you. Your friendly neighborhood automotive dealer, also lying to you. Politicians? Lying to you. Oh yeah, learn how to vote lol.)Addendum for the weak-minded who think I am advocating some 'driver training' program: Learning is not something you do in school once for all time. Learning how to drive is not something that someone does for you. It is a continuous process driven by YOU. Learn how to learn how to drive, and learn to drive. Keep on learning how to drive. (You -- over there -- especially you, you kind of suck at driving. LOL.)Example: Do you know where your tires are? When you are 4 hours into a 6 hour interstate journey and change lanes, do you run over the raised center line retroreflective bumpers, or do you steer between them?
  • Mike Bradley Advertising, movies and TV, manufacturing, and car culture have all made speeding and crashing the ultimate tests of manhood. Throw in the political craziness and you've got a perfect soup of destruction and costs.
  • Lou_BC Jay Leno had said that EV's would be good since they could allow the continued existence of ICE cars for enthusiasts. That sentiment makes sense. Many buyers see vehicles as a necessary appliance.