April 15, 2015, 6:55 PM
Toyota has been building Corollas in Canada, at its Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) facilities in Cambridge, Ontario, since 1988. But that long run is about to come to an end.
Production of the Corolla will be moved to a new, $1-Billion (US) plant to be built in Guanajuato in Central Mexico, the company announced today.
Toyota is the latest in a growing list of automakers to choose Mexico as the site for new auto assembly investment. Mexico can offer all the benefits of being a NAFTA member but with much lower production costs than Canada.
Mexican Corolla production is scheduled to begin in 2019, at which time TMMC's North Plant will switch to production of "higher-value" mid-sized vehicles, the company says.
That transformation will be Toyota's first major reinvestment in that plant since it opened in 1997, adding to the capacity of the original factory, now designated the South Plant.
Toyota says it will realign production at its Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario assembly plants so all three plants will produce mid-sized vehicles of higher value. These changes will require major investment and modifications in the two Canadian assembly plants in Cambridge and the one in Woodstock over the next several years.
These moves are said to be part of a plan to group production by common vehicle platforms in each North American plant to improve efficiency and enhance flexibility.
"This strategic re-thinking of how and where we build our products will create new opportunities for our company, our business partners and our team members across the region," said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota North America.
In the interim, the Woodstock plant will continue to manufacture the RAV4 and the Cambridge South Plant will continue to build the Lexus RX 350 and 450h.
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