Toyota Expanding Production in Mexico to Meet Tacoma Demand
High Demand for Midsize Truck Prompts Plant Investment
Midsize pickup trucks are an unexpected hot spot in today’s automotive market. While sales of fullsize trucks have slowed somewhat over the past few months, demand for midsize trucks is as high as ever. Of the major midsize truck makers, only Toyota has the advantage of sourcing production from two plants. The Tacoma is built at its plant in San Antonio, Texas, which also builds the fullsize Tundra, as well as a plant in Tijuana, Mexico. To keep from impacting Tundra protection too much, Toyota is instead opting to increase investment in its Mexico plant to increase output of the Tacoma.
The plant started as simply a supplier plant when the Tacoma was still built at the joint-venture NUMMI plant in Fremont, California, now owned and operated by Tesla. The Tijuana plant supplied truck beds to the plant. The plant has a current output of approximately 100,000 trucks and truck beds per year. A $150 million investment will boost capacity of the plant to 160,000 units by late 2017 to early 2018. The investment will also bring 400 additional jobs, bringing the total workforce to approximately 1,500 employees. With the new investment, the plant will run three shifts, essentially making it a 24-hour operation.