Toyota ends expansion freeze with new plants in Mexico, China
By Chang-Ran Kim
TOKYO, April 15 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp announced plans for new factories in Mexico and China on Wednesday, ending a self-imposed expansion freeze to fend off rivals racing to overtake it as the world's top-selling automaker.
Confirming earlier Reuters reports, the Japanese manufacturer said it would build a $1 billion plant with the capacity to produce 200,000 cars a year in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.
Toyota also said it would build its Corolla model there from 2019, transferring production from its Cambridge, Ontario plant in Canada as part of a realignment of its North American manufacturing operations. The firm's first passenger car plant in Mexico would create about 2,000 jobs, it said in a statement.
Burned by excess capacity after the global financial crisis and a huge recall shortly after, President Akio Toyoda paused new factory investment and called instead for making better use of existing plants. Toyota said it was now using about 90 percent of its total manufacturing capacity, versus about 70 percent in 2009.
Toyota also used the time to draw up a fresh blueprint for new factories under its latest initiative, dubbed Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), to overhaul the way it develops and builds cars.
Its renewed investment comes as rivals Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co steadily add plants as they vie for the industry's sales crown.
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