Toyota Pares Down Mexican Plant Plans, but 100,000 Extra Tacomas Are Still on the Way
The only thing better than two plants producing North America’s hottest-selling midsize pickup is three plants churning them out. That’s a big part of Toyota’s plan to stay ahead of General Motors and future competitors like Ford in the small yet vital segment.
Despite making every effort over the past year to build more Tacomas at its Tijuana, Mexico, and San Antonio, Texas, assembly plants, those facilities are maxed out, leading to Toyota’s August decision to punt Corolla production (initially bound for a planned Guanajuato, Mexico, plant) to a new $1.6 billion U.S. facility in the near future.
On paper, the Guanajuato plant aimed to produce 200,000 Corollas per year. Well, those plans have changed. Toyota now says it will drop its investment in the plant from $1 billion to $700 million, with production capacity dropping by half. That still means 100,000 extra Tacomas for a hungry customer base.
According to Reuters, the updated plan would allow for a future production increase, if needed. Despite the drop in investment, Toyota claims it remains committed to Mexico.
“Our biggest concern today in the way we produce cars in North America – we don’t have enough trucks,” said Toyota executive vice president Didier Leroy at the Tokyo Motor Show. “We now can have a hub between Texas, Baja, California, and the new plant in Mexico, and in the three different locations we will produce the Tundra and the Tacoma, which is the best in terms of global supply for the North American market.”
Leroy added that fears of a U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA and threats of import tariffs from President Donald Trump did not play into the plant decision.
“We are not playing any political games,” he said.
The extra production adds to the 160,000 Tacomas built annually in Tijuana and the 135,000 coming from Texas. While the midsize pickup segment remains somewhat fickle, there’s no denying Toyota’s status as king of this particular hill.
Tacoma sales in the U.S. in September were up 15 percent, year-over-year, with sales over the first nine months of 2017 coming in just over 3 percent higher than the same period in 2016. The segment’s second-best-selling pickup, the Chevrolet Colorado, sold 8,767 fewer units than the Tacoma last month, despite seeing sales rise compared to both August 2017 and September of last year.
Matt3319 on Oct 25, 2017
Now that we have a few years of the current Taco done been built, I got to say the previous version is still much better by a long shot! The 4.0L V6 is much better than the what ever cycle the 3.5L V6 is. The old version just seems stouter and better. That's my opinion of course. The old one still has rick solid resale numbers.
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