San Antonio Toyota truck plant gears up for 2-day shutdown in response to COVID-19
Update: After publication, Toyota announced it was extending the San Antonio plant's shutdown to April 3. This story has been updated with the new information.
The Toyota truck manufacturing plant in San Antonio — one of the city’s largest employers — is preparing for a two-day shutdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the automaker said March 18.
In a statement, Plano-based Toyota Motor North America said it’s temporarily suspending production at all of its plants in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada on March 23 through April 3. This includes the San Antonio site. Toyota plans to reopen its North American plants April 6.
The automaker says it will continue to pay plant employees in full during the two-day closure. The San Antonio factory employs more than 3,200 workers who assemble Toyota’s Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks.
“This action is being taken to help ensure the health and safety of our employees, and due to an anticipated decline in market demand related to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will conduct a thorough cleaning at all of our manufacturing facilities during the shutdown,” Toyota says.
The shutdown also will enable Toyota employees to deal with school closures, the company says.
“The safety and security of our employees, stakeholders, and community are a top priority,” the automaker says, “and we will continue to monitor the situation and take action in a timely manner.”
Including Toyota’s 23 on-site suppliers, employment at the San Antonio site exceeds 7,200. In 2022, production of Toyota’s Sequoia SUV is supposed to be shifted from Indiana to San Antonio.
Toyota North America sold 111,673 Tundra pickup trucks in 2019, down 5.6 percent from 118,258 in 2018, while it sold 248,801 Tacoma pickup trucks in 2019, up 1.3 percent from 245,659 in 2018.
The San Antonio plant, which opened in 2006 at a cost of nearly $1.3 billion, is undergoing a $391 million upgrade. No jobs will be added as part of this project.
Toyota’s San Antonio plant isn’t the only auto manufacturing site in Texas that’s feeling the effects of the coronavirus.
At all of its North American manufacturing plants, including its site in Arlington, General Motors is halting production until at least March 30. The shutdown will enable GM to “deep clean facilities and continue to protect people,” the automaker says in a March 18 release.
“We have been taking extraordinary precautions around the world to keep our plant environments safe,” GM Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra says in the release, “and recent developments in North America make it clear this is the right thing to do now.”
The Arlington plant manufactures about 1,200 vehicles a day, amounting to roughly 438,000 vehicles a year. It employs near 5,000 people, with annual payroll adding up to about $365 million.
Vehicles made the Arlington plant are:
- GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.
- Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe.
- Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV.