DETROIT – Toyota Motor will shift all production of the Tacoma midsize pickup from Texas to Mexico as it restructures its North American footprint and invests $13 billion in U.S. manufacturing operations through next year.
Toyota says no U.S. jobs will be lost as a result of the change, which also includes bringing the Sequoia SUV to the San Antonio plant by 2022. The Texas plant, which also assembles the Tundra full-size pickup, has produced the Tacoma since 2010.
The announced shift comes a month after Toyota started Tacoma production at a new plant in Central Mexico in addition to another Mexican plant in Tijuana that has been producing Tacoma pickups since 2004. Tacoma production at the new plant in Mexico had previously been announced, however not Toyota's plans to end Tacoma production in Texas.
Toyota's production plans come a day after the U.S. Senate approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, sending one of President Donald Trump's top priorities to his desk for ratification. Trump, via Twitter, criticized Toyota two years ago for its plans to build the plant in Mexico, which at the time was expected to produce Corolla cars.
Months after the tweet, Toyota announced it had altered those plans to produce Corollas at a new jointly-operated plant with Mazda in Alabama and use the new Mexican plant for additional Tacoma production. It once again changed those last year to assemble an SUV at the new Alabama plant, which is expected to begin production in 2021, and Corollas at its Mississippi plant.
The production changes, according to a company spokesman, are designed to group North American vehicle assembly plants based on shared platforms and common architectures to cut costs and improve operational speed and competitiveness.
Toyota announced the plans on Friday as it celebrated the completion of a $1.3 billion investment at its plant in southwest Indiana as part of a previously-announced plan to invest $13 billion in its U.S. operations over a five-year period through 2021. It has announced investments of $7.1 billion thus far, including half of a new $1.6 billion plant with Mazda Motor in Alabama.
"Part of Toyota's tremendous success in North America is building vehicles where we sell them," Christopher Reynolds, chief administration officer, manufacturing and corporate resources for Toyota's North American operations, said in a press release. "Our $1.3 billion investment at TMMI is further proof that our Hoosier workforce is rededicated to producing safer, high-quality vehicles our customers love to drive."
The Indiana plant also assembles the Toyota Sienna minivan in addition to the Highlander, which was redesigned for the 2020 model-year. Sales of the Highlander were down 2.1% last year, while sales of the Sienna declined 16.1%.
Tacoma production is expected to end at the plant in Texas in late 2021, according to Toyota. That will make room for additional Tundra production as well as the Sequoia SUV, which will end production at the Indiana plant by 2022.
Additional vehicles could be added in the future as Toyota announced a $391 million investment for multi-vehicle production capabilities last summer. A Toyota spokesman declined to comment on any future production plans for the Texas plant.
Toyota says no U.S. jobs will be lost as a result of any of the production moves.