Keep on truckin’
Toyota is pumping $391 million into a major tech upgrade at its San Antonio truck manufacturing plant, officials said September 17. This project will push the Japanese automaker's overall investment in San Antonio past $3 billion.
“What a huge win for San Antonio,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg says in a release. “This is exactly the kind of project our city has strategically been preparing for — it shows we’re a competitive region ready for big investment from large manufacturers.”
Melissa Sparks, a Toyota spokeswoman in San Antonio, says the $391 million project won’t create more jobs. Rather, she says, the investment will focus on installing advanced technology that’ll boost “flexibility,” enabling the automaker to keep up with strong customer demand for pickup trucks. The plant will continue to manufacture about 208,000 Tundra and Tacoma trucks per year.
The Toyota factory employs more than 3,200 people. Including 23 on-site suppliers, employment at the South Side complex surpasses 7,200.
Separately, Japan-based Aisin AW Co. Ltd., a supplier of transmissions, drivetrains, and navigation systems to Toyota and other automakers, said September 17 that it’ll invest $400 million to build a plant in Cibolo. The facility, about 25 miles northeast of San Antonio, will bring 900 new jobs. Toyota owns a stake in Aisin AW.
The nearly $800 million in combined investments were announced during a news conference at the Toyota plant.
“The Lone Star State continues to build on its reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse, thanks to investments from innovative companies like Toyota and Aisin AW,” Gov. Greg Abbott says in a release. “Their combined new investment of nearly $800 million in the San Antonio area is a testament to Texas’ unrivaled workforce and commitment to creating an environment where businesses can thrive free from the heavy hand of government regulation and over-taxation.”
According to a study commissioned by the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, the total economic impact of the Toyota and Aisin AW investments will exceed $10 billion, generating more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region over the next 10 years.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas Inc. opened the San Antonio plant in 2006. It’s the only one of the company's 10 U.S. plants that makes trucks. The factory initially manufactured Tundra pickups. In 2010, the plant gained about 1,000 jobs through the $100 million addition of Tacoma production.
The Tundra and Tacoma are among the 10 best-selling pickup trucks in the U.S.