Toyota starts up new production base in northeast

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. on Sunday launched a new company in northeast Japan that will focus on small cars and serve as its third domestic production base by integrating three core manufacturing subsidiaries in the east.

Toyota Motor East Japan Inc., which is based in Miyagi Prefecture, will produce small cars in an integrated manner starting from the development stage to help the automaker keep domestic output at over 3 million cars per year even as it realigns production to cope with the strong yen by transferring output overseas, according to its officials.

The company, which will have a workforce of about 7,900, is expected to assemble about 500,000 finished cars per year at three factories in Iwate, Miyagi and Shizuoka prefectures, although it could increase output on better-than-expected sales of the Aqua compact hybrid and new Corolla sedans and station wagons, they said.

Born through a merger of Kanto Auto Works Ltd. in Kanagawa Prefecture, and Central Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Tohoku Corp. in Miyagi, the company is headed by Takeshi Shirane, a former senior managing officer.