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Toyota initiates new Guanajuato plant amid falling automotive production

The company will produce 100,000 Tacoma pickups a year in Apaseo el Grande

Toyota will begin production at a new plant in Guanajuato in the coming days as industry-wide automotive production continues to fall.

The Mexican subsidiary of the Japanese automaker plans to manufacture 100,000 Tacoma pickup trucks annually at its US $700-million plant in Apaseo el Grande, a municipality that borders Querétaro. Most of the vehicles will be exported to the United States.

Toyota Motor Sales Mexico president Tom Sullivan told reporters Thursday that 2020 is expected to be another difficult year for the domestic automotive industry. Car sales in Mexico have been on the wane for the past two and a half years.

Toyota is the fourth most successful automaker in the domestic new car sales market with a share of 7.9%. However, its sales in Mexico between January and November fell to 94,342 vehicles, a 2% decline compared to the same period last year.

The combined production of all automakers in Mexico also fell in November a month after the industry recorded its biggest ever annual production decline.

The national statistics agency, Inegi, reported on Friday that 300,292 vehicles were made in Mexico last month, a 13% decline compared to November 2018. The production downturn is the largest for the month of November in 16 years.

The production of eight of 12 automakers that operate in Mexico fell last month.

The biggest decline was at Ford, whose output shrank by 68.2% compared to November 2018. Audi recorded a 27.6% production decline, Volkswagen’s output fell 23% and KIA manufactured 19.5% fewer vehicles.

The only manufacturers that made more vehicles last month compared to November 2018 were Mazda, General Motors and JAC, whose production increased by 10.5%, 9.1% and 7.7% respectively. BMW was the fourth carmaker that didn’t record an annual production decline. However, the German company wasn’t operating in Mexico in November 2018.

Lower automotive production last month had a knock-on effect on exports, which declined 7.5% compared to November 2018 to 268,296 vehicles.

Just under 85% of that number – 227,684 vehicles – went to the United States. The number of cars sent to Mexico’s northern neighbor was 0.4% lower than in November 2018.

During the first 11 months of the year, just over 3.54 million vehicles were made in Mexico, a 3.5% decline compared to the same period last year, while exports fell 2.2% to just over 3.1 million.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Financiero (sp) 

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