NAGOYA (Kyodo) Toyota Motor Corp. is thinking of building an eighth factory in North America that would be ready to go online in 2009, Toyota sources said Friday.
The sites Toyota is considering are mainly in the southern United States, including Texas, the sources said. It also wants to build a new engine factory in the U.S., they said.
Toyota’s sales have been surging in North America, its biggest market, and the supply and demand situation has been growing tight.
Toyota plans to begin new production at several North American plants this year, including another Texas factory and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette, Ind. The Subaru plant is an arm of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., in which Toyota recently acquired a large equity stake.
Rival Honda Motor Co. may also build a new factory in North America.
The Japanese automakers appear eager to avert trade spats with the United States by giving more jobs to Americans, especially at a time when General Motors Corp. and other major U.S. automakers are struggling, industry officials said.
The planned Toyota factory is expected to have an annual production capacity of about 200,000 vehicles, the sources said. It is likely Toyota will use the plant to make sport utility vehicles, among others, they said.
Toyota’s combined annual production capacity in North America will thus rise to 2 million units, or 800,000 units higher than its production in 2005, the sources said.
Toyota is also speeding up the expansion of its overseas production network in a bid to raise annual global output to 10 million units, the sources said.