Toyota responds to Trump: look over the long term, we are in the same direction
Just two days after Donald Trump blasted General Motors for a car that is mostly manufactured in the United States, the president-elect now threatened Toyota Motor Corp. with a “big border tax” for planning to build a factory, he mistakenly said, in Baja California.
Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 5 de enero de 2017
Minutes later, the company said in a statement that its U.S. production and employment levels won’t be reduced as a result of the new plant in Mexico and pledged to work closely with the Trump administration.
“Toyota looks forward to collaborating with the Trump Administration to serve in the best interests of consumers and the automotive industry,” the company said in a statement issued after Trump’s comments on Twitter.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda said his company is aligned with the incoming administration in that it wants to be a good corporate citizen and grow employment in countries where it operates plants, including the U.S. “If you look over the long term, we are oriented in the same direction,” he told reporters.
The grandson of Toyota’s founder told reporters at a New Year’s event he’s always thinking about boosting U.S. production, regardless of the political situation in the country.
Toyota broke ground on the US$ 1 billion Corolla plant in the central-Mexican city of Guanajuato in November. The company announced in September a US$ 150 million investment to increase capacity at an existing plant in Baja California that makes pickup trucks, but no sedans.
The new plant, announced in April 2015, will produce around 200,000 Corolla compact cars a year for the North American market starting in 2019. Production of the Corolla will move from Cambridge, Ontario to the new plant in Mexico, although Corolla cars will continue to be built at Toyota’s plant in Mississippi. The Corolla is the second-best-selling compact car in the U.S. behind the Honda Civic, with Toyota delivering 360,000 in 2016.