You might recall that we’ve reported NUMMI dead several times, but like one of those vegetative patients who repeatedly flatlines and then revives, various machinations kept the story alive for weeks. However, in what was probably a foregone conclusion from the start, Toyota has decided to officially drop its contract to operate at NUMMI as of March 2010. Will this finally quash all of the waffling back and forth about what NUMMI’s fate will be?
In any event, our thoughts go out to the workers who will be affected by the decision. Press release after the jump.
Update: We just noticed the following statement in the AP writeup of the developing story: “California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the state was working to “ensure appropriate employee severance, proper environmental remediation and assistance in transforming the site to alternative uses.” With that reaction from the Governor it sounds pretty cut and dried. [Source: AP]
Toyota Motor Corporation Press Release: TMC To End Production Contract With NUMMI In March 2010
Tokyo — TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announced it will end its Corolla and Tacoma production contract with New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) on March 31, 2010 and shift production of those vehicles to Toyota wholly-owned facilities. Following the end of the contract, Tacoma pickups will be produced at Toyota’s manufacturing facility in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A., which specializes in trucks. Corollas will be sourced from its Cambridge, Ontario, Canada plant, as well as Japan to meet near-term demand. This will enable an uninterrupted supply of vehicles to dealers and customers in North America. TMC Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi, who is responsible for North America, said,
“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. This is most unfortunate, and we deeply regret having to take this action.”
“We remain strongly committed to maintaining a substantial production presence in the U.S.A. and North America,” continued Mr. Niimi. “To that end, we will consider moving additional Corolla production back to North America over time.”
Mr. Niimi further added, “NUMMI has been a groundbreaking model of Japan-U.S. industry collaboration and we are proud of its achievements. Toyota has learned much about automobile production in the U.S. through NUMMI, and these have been an invaluable 25 years. We would like to thank all of those involved with the joint venture,such as the suppliers, the local community, the union, and most of all the talented employees, who have worked closely and cooperatively with Toyota to contribute to the success of this pioneering joint venture.”
NUMMI, based in Fremont, California, was established in 1984 as an independent joint venture of TMC and General Motors to produce cars for both companies. In May, GM announced its decision to end its contract to produce the Pontiac Vibe at NUMMI, and this production ceased on August 17. In June, as part of GM’s bankruptcy reorganization, GM’s holdings in NUMMI were left among the assets to be liquidated of the Motors Liquidation Company (or “old GM”). These developments resulted in TMC’s decision to end its production contract with NUMMI next March.
TMC intends to work collaboratively with Motors Liquidation Company and NUMMI to help NUMMI and all of its affected stakeholders in dealing with the impact of the decisions made by NUMMI’s customers.
Toyota Motor Corporation Press Release: NOTE: TMC Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi will conduct a press briefing on this announcement at 9:15 PM EST/ 6:15 PM PST. To participate, dial: 1-866-784-9140; Confirmation Code: 2331675.