Toyota Motor Corp and one of its top suppliers are to invest a combined US$791 million in Texas to build next-generation pickups as part of a drive to boost output in the US and ease trade tensions with US President Donald Trump’s administration.
The announcement that Toyota is plugging US$391 million into its San Antonio, Texas, truck factory came six months after the automaker pledged to shell out an additional US$3 billion on its US operations by 2021, a move seen as an effort to head off threatened US tariffs on vehicles imported from Japan.
That was on top of an earlier US$10 billion pledge Toyota made shortly before Trump took office.
“We view it as a tremendous vote of confidence in Texas and San Antonio and the truck market” in the US, Christopher Reynolds, the chief administrative officer and head of manufacturing for Toyota in North America, said in a Bloomberg Television interview.
The spending is part of Toyota’s multi-decade production localization drive, but also reflects a strategy to convince Trump not to follow through on tariffs of as much as 25 percent on imported vehicles and parts.
The Japanese automaker has publicly pushed back on the administration’s claim that foreign automakers pose a national security risk to the US.
Following a months-long probe, the administration in May cleared the way for tariffs on imported vehicles and components.
However, the White House has put off imposing them while it pursues trade deals with Japan and the EU.
Trump on Monday said that the US would reach an initial trade deal with Japan in the coming weeks, but made no mention of his threat of duties on US$50 billion of Japanese vehicles.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s camp has warned that any final deal must include assurances that Washington would not hit the country’s auto sector with new duties.
Trump and Abe are scheduled to hold a one-on-one meeting on Wednesday next week during the UN General Assembly in New York, US National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday.
“There just might be an announcement at the United Nations,” Kudlow told the US-Japan Business Conference in Washington. “You can never tell, but I’m an optimist.”
Toyota said that its San Antonio announcement was not linked to the trade talks between the US and Japan.
“We don’t make these investment decisions based on what the current trade scenario is,” Reynolds said.
“When we make this kind of investment, we’re looking at where we think the market will be in 20 years from now, regardless of what the trade flows might be under this agreement or that agreement,” he added.
No new direct jobs were announced for the truck factory, which employs more than 3,000 workers.
The funds are to be used to incorporate “various advanced technologies” on the production lines for the Tacoma and Tundra pickups, Toyota said.
However, the automaker said that an affiliate of one of its close-knit suppliers, Aisin Seiki Co, would hire 900 workers for a new US$400 million auto parts production facility in a San Antonio suburb.
Toyota group companies own nearly 39 percent of Aisin and its president is a former senior executive at the automaker.
‘ACCORDING TO PLAN’: A company official said that it has set up production sites worldwide to provide services and that its Wisconsin project was going smoothly Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) smart manufacturing center in Wisconsin would begin trial manufacturing in the middle of this year, the company said yesterday, adding that it plans to build a research institute to develop key technologies to support growth over the next five years. Hon Hai, known internationally as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), said in an annual report submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that its planned Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology would conduct research into artificial intelligence, next-generation communications, quantum computing, cybersecurity and nano semiconductors in Taiwan. Hon Hai is to make products at the center
TV and online retailer Momo.com Inc (富邦媒體) yesterday said it has set up a new logistics subsidiary, Fu Sheng Logistics Co (富昇物流), to oversee the company’s extensive shipping operations. Leveraging Momo’s 23 satellite warehouses and distribution centers nationwide, Fu Sheng will be in charge of executing the retailer’s same-day shipment plan for deliveries in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, Momo said in a press release. Seeking to further shorten its supply chain, the company is to set up another seven satellite warehouses and distribution centers by the end of the year. “Fu Sheng has a fleet of 200 couriers
US-CHINA TENSIONS: The company said that it supplies self-designed chips to the Chinese company and, as such, is not affected by the latest US export restrictions Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) said it does not expect its shipments of memory chips to Huawei Technologies Co (華為) to be affected by the latest US export restrictions on the Chinese tech giant. “As long as the company [Huawei] places orders, we will ship [chips], unless the [Taiwanese] government restricts all Taiwanese companies from shipping” to Huawei, Macronix chairman and chief executive officer Miin Wu (吳敏求) said on Monday in Hsinchu. The US Department of Commerce on Friday took a further step to block chip supplies from non-US companies to Huawei by requiring foreign semiconductor makers to get US government permission before
E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技), the world’s sole supplier of e-paper displays for e-readers and shelf labels, posted its best quarterly net profit for the first quarter in nine years amid increased demand during a traditionally slow season. Net profit soared 80 percent to NT$787 million (US$26.23 million) in the quarter ended March 31, compared with NT$438 million a year earlier. That translated into earnings per share of NT$0.69, up from NT$0.39. E Ink posted lower royalty income of NT$371.23 million last quarter from NT$448.74 million a year earlier, a company financial statement showed. E Ink said that it expects royalty income to