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Toyota to dump California plant

by Bill Cawthon on

It appears the days are numbered for California’s last automotive production facility. Sources with knowledge of the situation say the Japanese automaker will most likely wind down its share of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant it once shared with General Motors, ending the employment of the only UAW workers building Toyota products.

On Thursday, Toyota said it will explore its options with Motors Liquidation Co., the new name for the “old” GM which will be selling those assets that were not taken by the “new” GM when it came out of bankruptcy. GM’s half of NUMMI is one of those orphaned assets.

Yoshi Inaba, a Toyota executive vice president and head of its North Ameircan operations, told reporters, “There is a likelihood we would not buy the rest of it.”

Despite the fact the NUMMI plant has met or exceeded the productivity levels of other Toyota plants, the dramatic decline in sales means the company ha too much excess capacity. Toyota could shift production of the Corollas and Tacoma built in the Fremont, California plant to other facilities.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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