The facility’s 4,200 team members are confident that improvements they made during the economic downturn assured a successful Sienna and Highlander launch. Already grappling with the sales impact of escalating gas prices following Hurricane Katrina, the plant faced an uncertain future when the banking and housing crisis brought the economy to its knees and the auto industry with it.
Investment in Team Members and Facilities
Toyota invested approximately $450 million to upgrade the plant. With the start of Highlander production at TMMI last October, and the recent launch of the all-new Sienna, the plant’s outlook has improved dramatically.
TMMI also encouraged team members to further kaizen, a Japanese term for continuous improvement. No ideas for improving processes and reducing waste were too small; in fact, hundreds of improvements were implemented resulting in an estimated savings of more than $7 million.
Toyota offset some of the cost by adopting a “shared sacrifice” approach, including the elimination of executive and salaried bonuses, executive pay cuts, production team member bonus reductions, overtime elimination, and a hiring freeze.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and currently operates 14 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs nearly 41,000 in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $23 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota’s annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals nearly $25 billion.
Toyota currently produces 12 vehicles in North America, including the Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Sienna, Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza and the Lexus RX 350.
Media Contact: Mike Goss (859) 746-6676