Toyota launched production of the Tacoma midsize pickup here, alongside the full-size Tundra , after investing an additional $100 million in its San Antonio factory.
The company yesterday marked the start of compact Tacoma production in the plant built to make only larger Tundra pickups when it opened in late 2006. Lower demand for Tundras than Toyota expected and the closing of its former California joint- venture plant this year led it to move Tacoma output to Texas at a cost of $100 million.
Tacoma’s production move to TMMTX was announced a year ago and adds 1,000 jobs. Today, over 2,800 team members are employed at TMMTX and the plant is fully positioned to ramp up Toyota’s pickup truck production for the American market.
“The San Antonio plant has shown a great deal of resilience during the recession and is fully prepared to ramp-up Tacoma production,” said Chris Nielsen, TMMTX president. “By building Tacoma in Texas, we are able to consolidate pickup truck production in the United States under one roof, allowing us to fully utilize the plant’s capacity.”
During the economic downturn, TMMTX was one of several Toyota plants impacted by poor sales. However, TMMTX retained its workforce instead of laying off, in order to strengthen team members’ skills and improve plant processes.
In 2009, Toyota sold just over 191,000 pickups, with Tundra sales off nearly 43 percent from 2008 levels at about 80,000 vehicles, and Tacoma sales down almost 23 percent, to about 112,000 trucks according to Autodata Corp.
For the moment, there is no consideration to add a second assembly line at the San Antonio factory, which opened in late 2006.