Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp plan to spend $1.6 billion in a joint venture auto manufacturing plant in the US. The two Japanese automakers, which had been contemplating a possible business alliance, judged it necessary to strengthen their partnership.
Trump announced on Twitter Friday morning, he wrote, " Toyota & Mazda to build a new $1.6billion plant here in the United States of America and create 4k new American jobs. This means that Toyota will build the Tacoma in its new plant in Guanajuato, Mexico which is also now under construction. "Also, amid signs that overall US auto demand has peaked, building a plant via a joint venture will reduce the risk for both companies". The Republican president also threatened to impose a hefty fee on Toyota if it were to build its Corolla cars for the US market at a plant in Mexico. Instead, the automaker will use the Mexican plant for additional production of the Tacoma. "A great investment in American manufacturing!" he tweeted Friday morning.
All Corollas now sold in the USA are made in Ontario, Canada or Mississippi.
Last month, Trump complimented Toyota for completing its long-planned new North American headquarters in Texas.
Toyota wouldn't say where the plant would be built, but it's likely to be in the South, near the rest of the company's USA factories. State and local governments are likely to offer subsidies and tax incentives to land the factory, which could produce as many as 300,000 vehicles a year.
Meanwhile, Mazda now has no production facilities in the USA, but has previously operated factories in Kansas and MI, one of the Midwestern, rustbelt states Trump promised to return to prosperity during his presidential campaign.
"NO WAY!" Trump said in a tweet about Toyota in January.
Toyota plans to acquire a 5.05 percent stake in Mazda, valued at 50 billion yen ($455 million).
Indeed, the plant reached 500,000 cars faster than any other plant in Toyota history, and a year ago it won a coveted J.D. Power Initial Quality award.
In that respect the deal resembles the global alliance between Japanese automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi and French automaker Renault.
The assembly site is just part of the Toyota/Mazda joint venture, with the two companies also partnering on the research and development of electric vehicles and connected auto technologies.
It's something that can't be said about Toyota, which shook up the industry with the original Prius and now has hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and EV versions of many of its models.