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Toyota To Shift Production To Developing Regions

By Agence France-Presse Toyota Motor Corp. says it will move production of certain vehicles made by subsidiary Hino Motors Ltd. from Japan to developing regions by 2004 in order to boost competitiveness. "We will shift our production of multipurpose vehicles and pick-up trucks to Southeast Asia . . . Argentina and South Africa from Japan," says company spokeswoman Shino Yamada. The move comes as an increasing number of Japanese firms move operations to other Asian countries where assembly costs are much lower. "[The effort] is aimed at greatly enhancing Toyota's competitiveness by optimizing its worldwide development, procurement and production activities through orderly and efficient tie-ups among production bases outside of Japan," the nation's largest automaker says in a statement. Under the scheme, annual production of pickup trucks and multipurpose vehicles at Toyota plants in Thailand will surge fivefold to 200,000 units, half of which will be earmarked for exports. The company also will lift diesel engine production there to 240,000 units per year from 150,000, with more than half of that to be exported. In Indonesia, Toyota will boost output of multipurpose vehicles to 70,000 units from 60,000 and also raise gasoline engine production to 180,000 units. "South Africa will become a base for supplying Europe and Africa with both pickups and multipurpose vehicles," Toyota said, adding it would double production there to 60,000 units annually. Argentina will become the company's hub for Central and South America, with yearly production of trucks and multipurpose autos rising to 60,000 units from 20,000. Toyota says it is not abandoning its domestic Hino production. "We are going to do some adjustments in Japan and produce other models; we are not going to take away all production from Hino and shift it overseas," Yamada says. Hino Motors, 50.1% owned by Toyota, makes some 120,000 pickup trucks and multipurpose vehicles per year. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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