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Toyota Texas Plant Nears Ribbon-Cutting; Fuji Indiana to Build Camry and Highlander

Washington DC November 28, 2005; The AIADA newsletter reported that truck makers will soon be bracing for a turf war in the nation’s truck capital as opening day draws closer for Toyota’s 2 million-square-foot pickup truck assembly plant in San Antonio, reports Detroit News.

Long a stronghold for domestic full-size trucks, Texas will be host to the first-ever international nameplate production facility designated solely for the output of pickups -- an investment Toyota hopes will help it make strategic inroads in a 90 percent domestic dominated segment. Presently, Toyota’s share of the full-size pickup segment is under half of its 13 percent share of the U.S. market.

Technicians are currently in the process of installing the heavy vehicle-manufacturing equipment at the $850 million Texas plant. Toyota’s goal is to build 200,000 of their Tundra models at the plant each year. Already, Toyota has hired over 400 workers for the new facility. Training for the new staff is occurring at its pickup plant in Princeton, Ind.

Toyota indicated this week plans to ask Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. to partner on the production of 100,000 to 120,000 units of the Camry and Highlander models beginning in 2007, reports Bloomberg. The news comes on the tail of Toyota’s recent purchase of an 8.7 percent stake in Fuji last month.

The added production would occur at Fuji’s Lafayette, Indiana facility and would increase Toyota’s North American capacity by 6.2 percent in 2008. Execs from both companies are expected to discuss the plan next week.