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Old 07-21-2009, 10:29 AM   #1
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Default Toyota says it's no longer profitable in North America

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Toyota's top executive in the United States said Monday the company was reviewing its entire operation here, including whether to close a factory in California and when to open a factory in Mississippi. In an hour-long interview with reporters at Toyota's Washington office, Yoshimi Inaba said Toyota is not profitable in North America despite cost cutting in the organization, but he said he hopes the company could be profitable in its next fiscal year in North America.

Inaba, who is president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor America and chairman and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA, is taking up his responsibilities at a crucial time for the Japanese automaker.

Toyota's sales have fallen 38 percent in the first six months of the year -- to 770,000 cars and trucks from nearly 1.25 million vehicles in the first six months of 2008. U.S. industry auto sales fell 35 percent in the first half of the year.

Among the issues the company is considering in its re-evaluation process is whether to keep open the 25-year-old New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. assembly plant in Fremont, Calif. The plant, which employs 4,700 people, is a joint venture formed with General Motors, but the Detroit automaker recently withdrew from the pact during its stay in bankruptcy court.

"That put us in a very difficult position," Inaba said. "We are carefully evaluating all the options."

He didn't commit to a timetable for a decision on Nummi, but said a decision would be made "quite soon." He said Toyota hadn't received an incentive package from California yet.

The hourly workers at Nummi are represented by the United Auto Workers, and the contract expires next month. Inaba said the UAW contract "is one consideration, but not the single deciding factor."

Inaba noted that California is Toyota's single biggest market in the United States, and closing the factory would negatively impact its image there.

The company also is contemplating what to do with its Mississippi plant. Toyota has completed the structure, but not moved equipment into it or given a date it might open because of the sharp decline in auto sales. It was scheduled to open next year. Toyota has said it may build the Prius in Mississippi, but Inaba said those plans are unclear.

Asked whether Toyota could shelve its Mississippi plant permanently, Inaba said, "I hope not," and added, "I'm not that pessimistic" about its future.

"Toyota is certainly at a crossroads with respect to capacity," said Michael Robinet, vice president of global forecast at CSM Worldwide. "Virtually every manufacturer is stepping back and looking at their capacity."

Inaba refused to rule out layoffs or plant closures at its other North American plants.

Inaba said the company had made mistakes in making too many decisions in Japan, urging more "decentralization" of decision-making.

Because of Toyota's success for the last eight years, there was an attitude among some executives that, "OK, now we have been so successful, we understand the market, so can make a decision there rather than here," Inaba said.
Inaba said the company is listening to the market, and customers "had been a little bit lost."

When asked whether Toyota had become complacent, he said, "Complacent or arrogant -- a lot of people use that -- I don't know," he said, adding that the company had tried to guard against those qualities.

Inaba acknowledged that Toyota vehicles had often lacked "passion" and that the company's vehicles must be "more exciting, more nimble."

"Toyota is a good car but not exciting. Those are the comments we usually (or) always get," Inaba said.

Inaba said he supported the decision of the U.S. government to rescue General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC with $65 billion in loans. "Stepping into Chrysler and GM was a necessary step for the government, for the country," Inaba said.

But he said he hoped the U.S. government would have a "free-market level ground in mind in deciding what to do next."

He also said GM and Chrysler were right to shrink their dealer networks. Toyota, he said, has no plans to expand its dealer network in the U.S.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:43 AM   #2
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Shut down the Kalifornia plant, fire all the workers, or ofter to transfer them to Mississppi in a non UAW plant and get the ball rolling. The cost of being in Kali is way to high. More production to the south were labor rates are far less, the shops are union free, and you will see far more positive results.

do not worry about your image in Kalifornia. Just say you decided your plant was old and not GREEN enough, so for the sake of the environment, you closed it, and will plant a tree for every employee fired.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:56 AM   #3
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Wow, could building super-boring cars finally have bitten Toyota in the butt? I have to say I hope so, just a little..........
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:27 AM   #4
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Wow, could building super-boring cars finally have bitten Toyota in the butt? I have to say I hope so, just a little..........
Plus one
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by SilverSubaab View Post
Wow, could building super-boring cars finally have bitten Toyota in the butt? I have to say I hope so, just a little..........
Lol whatsasuppra?
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:48 AM   #6
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I drive by the plant in Fremont, California everyday...in my DD Pontiac Vibe that was built at that very plant.

*Hopefully* Toyota won't close it, maybe just scale back the workforce when the new contract comes up & weather the economic storm like everyone else has to.

Hell, if they could build the Prius anywhere..do it at the Fremont plant.

a) Its literally down the freeway from the hippie/Prius driving capital of the world, Berkeley. Imagine the daily pilgrimages people would make to see their little hybrid babies being build.

b) The Prius could have a whole new "Made in the USA" ad campaign/soapbox. Especially once the plug-in version comes to market.

c) California has NO money to throw at Toyota for incentives. HOWEVER; Toyota could probably get $$$ from the Federal govt for keeping people employed as "green jobs". The White House could then rub its stink all over the story. (For the record, I only bring this up because the same exact thing happened at the company I work for. We took over a couple competitors factories, retooled them to make our "Green" products, and the White House was gaga with us in the media.)

d) Or they could build the Toyo-baru coupe there
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:55 AM   #7
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I didn't see the Tundra on the top ten sellers list, but I did see a Dodge truck and a Ford truck. MAYBE, wasting all those resources on yet another stupid truck for the Ameritruckfan market is what bit them in the ass. Excellent!
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:02 PM   #8
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Lol whatsasuppra?
800+hp only runs 12 gets boring real fast
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:13 PM   #9
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800+hp only runs 12 gets boring real fast
Plus that was over a decade ago.
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:33 PM   #10
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Lol whatsasuppra?
It was so long ago no one remembers it..........That was over a decade ago! No was was talking about cars that went out of production years ago.........I think that was pretty obvious.

Name me anything in the current lineup that has any fun factor or even a little bit of "soul"? Toyota builds refrigerator and washing machines, that it is.
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:36 PM   #11
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I blame the Unions.


Just my .02
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:44 PM   #12
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Selling the 2nd most sold car in the states (camry) and still having trouble making money...
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:50 PM   #13
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So it's not making money during a bad economic downturn...so what? It's not like people stopped buying their cars only, everybody is hurting. Just prepare to have good cars ready once the economy recovers.
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Lboogie View Post
*Hopefully* Toyota won't close it...
The decision has already been made 'inside' Toyota. There's lots going on with Toyota right now as far as shuffling around models in the US/NA plants......
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:54 PM   #15
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I don't think the US is profitable for any car company right now.
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:25 PM   #16
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I don't think the US is profitable for any car company right now.
Ding, we have a winner.........With the way things are right now, how can the companies think US sales are going to be profitable?
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:34 PM   #17
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I don't think the US is profitable for any car company right now.
Subaru?
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:41 PM   #18
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c) California has NO money to throw at Toyota for incentives. HOWEVER; Toyota could probably get $$$ from the Federal govt for keeping people employed as "green jobs". The White House could then rub its stink all over the story. (For the record, I only bring this up because the same exact thing happened at the company I work for. We took over a couple competitors factories, retooled them to make our "Green" products, and the White House was gaga with us in the media.)
I'll bet it's more of a tax free operating agreement for several years. While Cali won't get taxes directly from them, there are a lot of supporting business's and people that they still will, so it is in their interest to make an agreement like that.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:55 PM   #19
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The decision has already been made 'inside' Toyota. There's lots going on with Toyota right now as far as shuffling around models in the US/NA plants......
Yeah it seems like it. Announcements like these are just made to "soften the blow", but it couldn't hurt to explore other ideas outside of the proverbial box. This area hasn't been hit directly by the automotive industry crash landing, compared to say Detroit , Michigan. Don't think the few thousand employees there would enjoy being laid off all of the sudden. We'll see what happens with the contract.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:01 PM   #20
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Wow, could building super-boring cars finally have bitten Toyota in the butt? I have to say I hope so, just a little..........
No, building 6 different boring SUVs that don't win any awards or accolades might be hurting them more. Sell 3 TOPS, they do not need the Land Cruiser, 4 Runner and Sequoia let alone the Highlander AND Rav-4.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:05 PM   #21
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Shut down the Kalifornia plant, fire all the workers, or ofter to transfer them to Mississppi in a non UAW plant and get the ball rolling. The cost of being in Kali is way to high. More production to the south were labor rates are far less, the shops are union free, and you will see far more positive results.

do not worry about your image in Kalifornia. Just say you decided your plant was old and not GREEN enough, so for the sake of the environment, you closed it, and will plant a tree for every employee fired.
LMAO. So true, so true SCRAPPYDO.

Adding to that cost are the stupid high tax rates and smothering regulations...

lump
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
Shut down the Kalifornia plant, fire all the workers, or ofter to transfer them to Mississppi in a non UAW plant and get the ball rolling. The cost of being in Kali is way to high. More production to the south were labor rates are far less, the shops are union free, and you will see far more positive results.

do not worry about your image in Kalifornia. Just say you decided your plant was old and not GREEN enough, so for the sake of the environment, you closed it, and will plant a tree for every employee fired.
You. I like you.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:21 PM   #23
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Time to bring a bullet proof 2JZ MKV supra back
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:33 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
Shut down the Kalifornia plant, fire all the workers, or ofter to transfer them to Mississppi in a non UAW plant and get the ball rolling. The cost of being in Kali is way to high. More production to the south were labor rates are far less, the shops are union free, and you will see far more positive results.

do not worry about your image in Kalifornia. Just say you decided your plant was old and not GREEN enough, so for the sake of the environment, you closed it, and will plant a tree for every employee fired.
That sounds about right.... as long as you use the catchword of the day 'green' people with love you for the rest of your life.

Person: Sure im a serial killer but i use all 'green' tools to deal my death lol.
Cali people: Awwww thats so concious of you, its ok keep killing as long as we dont find them they become compost too.
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:01 PM   #25
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...at this point California itself is a failing business plan. Too many people, too little resource, too many hand-outs. Taxing the **** out of California citizens and businesses still can't make up for it due to all the hand-outs especially to non US residents not paying taxes.

Toyota would have to be nuts to stay there.
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