Toyota to close dual-owned plant in Calif. after GM pullout

Aug 28, 2009 | 11:18 AM | Anne Riley

Having lost joint-venture partner General Motors Co. (GM) to bankruptcy protection earlier in the year, Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC) will cease production at its formerly dual-owned vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, Calif., by March 31.

The Fremont plant, which was Tokyo-based Toyota's first assembly plant in the United States, is also the first of the automaker's global facilities to close its doors.

The decision to halt production at the plant comes just two months after GM said it would withdraw from the partnership by August in an effort to shed domestic overcapacity and pull itself out of bankruptcy protection. The venture, known as New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (Nummi), had been in place for 25 years.

"After the decision by General Motors to withdraw from the Nummi joint venture, Toyota conducted a thorough review of its alternatives in light of current and anticipated market conditions. Based on this review, we have determined that over the mid- to long-term, it just would not be economically viable to continue the production contract with Nummi," Atsushi Niimi, Toyota's executive vice president, said in a statement.

Without GM on board, the West Coast operation was doomed to fail, according to Kim Hill, associate director of research at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).....

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