Toyota Motor Corp. (IW 1000/6) President Akio Toyoda said he’ll take U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s decisions into account when planning for the automaker’s Mexico operations, after Ford Motor Co. scrapped plans to build a new plant there.
Toyoda told reporters at a New Year’s gathering that he’ll handle the situation after understanding it better, when asked for a reaction to the news that Ford had canceled a plan to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico following criticism by Trump. Toyota has a new factory in Mexico that is scheduled to begin producing Corolla cars in 2019.
The chief of Japan’s largest automaker said that he’s always thinking about boosting U.S. production, regardless of the political situation in the country. Toyota wants to be a good company for U.S. citizens and that’s in the same direction as Trump, who’s said he wants to make America stronger, Toyoda said.
The threat of a tariff on Mexico-made exports to the U.S. is weighing on investment decisions in the auto industry. Besides Ford, Trump has threatened to punish General Motors Co. for building a version of its Cruze compact in Mexico, rekindling a months-old feud with the auto industry.
Separately, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said he doesn’t think U.S. protectionism is good for Japan. The maker of Subaru vehicles has no plans to build a factory in Mexico, he said.
By Masatsugu Horie