Toyota Motor is finalising plans for its first passenger car assembly plant in Mexico that could be approved by its board as early as next month, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. The plant would make the popular Corolla compact sedan and begin production in 2019. Based on recent investments by rivals, including Volkswagen, a new assembly plant would represent an investment of over $1 billion for Toyota. A green light for the plant would signal an end to a 3-year expansion freeze imposed by the Japanese automaker's president Akio Toyoda, who has blamed aggressive expansion a decade ago for contributing to quality lapses and a 2009 recall crisis. Toyota is the last mass-market automaker without a major production hub in Mexico, which has lured car makers and suppliers through its low labour costs and tariff-free access to the United States, Toyota's largest single market. The Japanese firm has a plant in Mexico's Baja California that produces the Tacoma pickup truck, but it has no passenger car plant. The Mexico plant would produce a new generation of the Corolla. Toyota said it sold close to 340,000 Corollas last year in the United States alone. Mazda Motor opened an assembly plant in Guanajuato early last year, which will also produce vehicles for Toyota under an agreement between the automakers. In June last year, Daimler and Nissan Motor announced plans to build a new small car joint-venture plant in Mexico at a cost of $1.4 billion.
About the author
Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University