Toyota is building two new auto plants, one in Mexico and the other in China.
As such, it’s ending its three-year hiatus from opening new plants, which the company imposed on itself after having to make massive recalls.
Toyota Motor Corporation has announced it will invest US$1 billion into the plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, where it will manufacture the Corolla subcompact. That will create 2,000 jobs.
Production will start in 2019, with annual output estimated at 200,000 vehicles. The company will consolidate Corolla production for North America in that plant, and in its plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi.
As a result, Corolla production will end in Ontario, and workers there will instead focus on more expensive mid-size vehicles.
Separately, Toyota is adding a third assembly line next to its plant in Guangzhou, China. That involves investment of 52.5 billion yen (US$440 million). The line is to be completed by 2017, for a model it declined to disclose.
At that plant, annual production capacity will go up by 100,000 vehicles. However, the new line won’t create new jobs because the existing two lines will become more efficient and reduce the number of workers needed, says Toyota.
Background on recalls
Acknowledging the company has grown very quickly, Toyota President Akio Toyoda put on hold for the past three years on any plans for new plants, especially after the recall fiasco that began in 2009.
At that time, more than 10 million Toyota vehicles were recalled around the world for faulty brakes, sticky gas pedals, ill-fitting floor mats, and a range of other defects.
Toyota is still embroiled, along with other automakers, in a recall involving air bags made by Takata Corp. of Japan. Those airbags can deploy and rupture with enough force to cause injury or death.
Toyota’s been eager to put recall woes behind it, but has repeatedly stressed future growth must be sustainable.