TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. has mapped out plans to add 10 new automobile assembly plants worldwide to build a 41-plant network by the end of 2010 to emerge as the world’s biggest automaker, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
In 2005, Toyota’s global production amounted to 7.36 million vehicles, making it the world’s second largest producer behind General Motors Corp. of the United States, which built 9.05 million vehicles.
The Japanese automaker now plans to increase its annual worldwide output capacity by about 3 million vehicles over the next five years so that it will be able to outstrip GM in terms of production, company sources said.
The U.S. auto giant is in the midst of restructuring in North America and has plans to shut down a number of plants.
Toyota will strengthen local assembly capacity not only in North America – where this year it has sold 2.55 million units through March 31, accounting for 31 percent of its global consolidated sales – but also in China, Europe, India and Russia.
Behind Toyota’s ambitious expansion plans is its projection that its worldwide sales will reach 10.4 million vehicles in 2010, exceeding its existing global assembly capacity by about 3 million units, the sources said.
In North America – where Toyota currently operates five plants that manufactured a total of about 1.56 million vehicles in 2005 – the Japanese automaker plans to start operating a new assembly plant in Texas late this year and another in Ontario, Canada, in 2008. However, the planned addition of output capabilities is hardly expected to narrow the disparity between demand for fuel-efficient Toyota cars in the North American market and output by local assembly plants there.
A senior Toyota executive said the firm intends to open another assembly plant in Texas – its eighth production facility in North America – as early as 2009 in order to avert a fresh round of trade friction with the United States over the automobile trade.