05 February 2003
San Antonio home to new Toyota plant; GM to retrofit Ga. plant
Toyota Motor Corp. picked San Antonio for its sixth vehicle assembly plant in North America, a $800 million facility that could add about 2,000 jobs.
The new plant will build 150,000 of the company's light Tundra pickup trucks starting in 2006. Construction, slated for a rural piece of land located southwest of the city, should start this summer, officials said.
Toyota said last September it wanted to add a production plant in North America near Mexico, where the company is already building another plant set to begin production as early as 2005.
San Antonio officials were jubilant after hearing the news. "This is a great day for San Antonio and for the state of Texas," Mayor Ed Garza said late Tuesday. "Our economy will never be the same. We're talking about manufacturing becoming one of our largest industries overnight." The city is the nation's ninth largest, but its history has never included much manufacturing.
The 2,000-acre San Antonio plant will help Toyota keep pace with demand for light trucks in North America, the company said in a statement.
Much of that demand is in Texas-by far the nation's top market for pickup trucks. General Motors makes pickups in the state at its plant in Arlington, near Dallas.
Meanwhile, GM will invest $150 million in its Doraville, Ga., plant to retrofit the facility to build midsize vans.
The plant, which opened in 1947 and is GM's sole producer of minivans, will start making four brands of midsize vans in 2005: Chevrolet, Pontiac, and, for the first time, Buick and Saturn.
The Doraville plant now builds the Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Montana, and Oldsmobile Silhouette. The plant employs 3,600 workers.
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