Texas-made Tundras, Soon to Arrive

By: Jennifer Dylan

Earlier, Toyota Motor Corp.(TMC) celebrated the opening of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX) valued at $1.28 billion. It is the newest plant of the automaker situated in San Antonio. During the opening of the new plant, two Tundras were manufactured. The production of the pickup truck was witnessed by Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda TMC's honorary chairman, and Katsuaki Watanabe, TMC president. They are joined by Rick Perry, Texas governor, and other local officials. According to the automaker, the new Tundra plant has 21 on-site suppliers that invest nearly $1.6 billion. Toyota also announced that it will employ over 4,000 workers for said plant.

"As Toyota moves forward into a new era, this new plant is a dynamic symbol of our bright future," said Watanabe. "Here in Texas, we have assembled a great team of people, a great plant, and a great truck. Along with great people, this is one of the most advanced automotive plants on the earth. It has the latest in technology and is using the best production and environmental techniques learned from 60 plants we operate around the world."

Toyota's San Antonio plant was announced in 2003 and its construction started later that year. Said Tundra plant will start full operations next spring and it will employ 2,000 team members to work on .

"When Toyota announced it would build a plant in Texas, it was the shot in the arm we needed to transform our economy and begin creating jobs in Texas again," said Texas Governor Rick Perry. "Today employment is at an all-time high, we have a record state surplus and the Texas economy is leading the nation. Toyota is an important part of the Texas economic revival because their investment means thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in wages for Texas families."

The automaker's investment in said plant was initially estimated at $800 million. In time the estimate grew to about $1.28 billion due to the expansion in capacity for 50,000 more trucks. The change greatly affected the cost of materials for . The steel and the additional infrastructure needed are the significant factors that increased the estimate.

"The full-size pickup truck market is, by far, the single-largest opportunity for Toyota's future growth plans in the U.S.," said Don Esmond, senior vice president of automotive operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Thanks to this highly-efficient plant, the in-house suppliers and all the team members, we plan to take full advantage of that opportunity. The new Tundra will arrive in showrooms in February. Our production and sales goals are ambitious, yet realistic, and reflect our confidence in the product."

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