Toyota "Not Profitable" in US
Among the issues the company is considering in its re-evaluation process is whether to keep open the 25-year-old New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. assembly plant in Fremont, Calif. The plant, which employs 4,700 people, is a joint venture formed with General Motors, but the Detroit automaker recently withdrew from the pact during its stay in bankruptcy court.
"That put us in a very difficult position," Inaba said. "We are carefully evaluating all the options."
He didn't commit to a timetable for a decision on Nummi, but said a decision would be made "quite soon." He said Toyota hadn't received an incentive package from California yet.
The hourly workers at Nummi are represented by the United Auto Workers, and the contract expires next month. Inaba said the UAW contract "is one consideration, but not the single deciding factor."
Inaba noted that California is Toyota's single biggest market in the United States, and closing the factory would negatively impact its image there.
The company also is contemplating what to do with its Mississippi plant. Toyota has completed the structure, but not moved equipment into it or given a date it might open because of the sharp decline in auto sales. It was scheduled to open next year. Toyota has said it may build the Prius in Mississippi, but Inaba said those plans are unclear.
Toyota has clearly figured out how to do business in the US: make the government eat a major portion of your costs -- and cut unionized workers' jobs first. (Full disclosure: Toyota's building their monstrous Tundras at a San Antonio plant. No discussion of its closure in the story.)