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Old Posted Nov 26, 2008, 5:26 PM
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Toyota S.A. plant exporting pickups from Houston (article)

Pickups sail from port as economic slump sets in
By BILL HENSEL JR. Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Nov. 25, 2008, 11:32PM

Julio Cortez Chronicle

Toyota Tundra trucks await shipment to Venezuela from the Port of Houston. Despite a slowing economy, business is bustling at the port.


The docks at the Port of Houston remain busy despite the economic slowdown, which is directly responsible for some high-profile exports rolling out, officials said Tuesday.

Toyota Tundra pickups from the company’s San Antonio plant are being shipped from Houston to Venezuela as Toyota shifts its focus for the American-made product from the struggling U.S. marketplace to Latin America. It doesn’t hurt that Venezuelans pay pennies per gallon for subsidized gasoline to fill heavy vehicles like Tundras, which get up to 14 miles per gallon in the city.

It marks the first time Tundras have been exported from the U.S., according to Toyota. Tundra exports to Latin America are forecast at about 1,000 vehicles a year, the company said.


More than 300 Tundras are scheduled to be shipped this week aboard the NYK Line from the Turning Basin Terminal, operated by the Port of Houston Authority.

The Tundra plant in San Antonio opened in 2006 to much fanfare, with the Japanese company holding great hopes for selling the truck in the pickup haven that is Texas. But a run-up in gasoline prices and the emergence of the economic slowdown forced the plant to shut down for three months. It reopened Nov. 11.

Tight credit markets and consumers pulling back on purchasing have hit automakers hard, analysts have said. Toyota said in announcing its move to export vehicles from the U.S. — it also is shipping Sequoia SUVs to the Middle East and Latin America — that it wanted a leaner inventory here.

Toyota announced its new exports from the U.S. last month. While it is the first for these models, the company said it actually has exported vehicles from the U.S. as far back as 1988.

“Our broad lineup allows us to satisfy customer needs in North America and beyond,” Toyota Motor Sales President Jim Lentz said in a prepared statement.

Toyota’s San Antonio plant is operating with just one of its two shifts. The company said it would restart its second shift in the spring if truck demand returns.

Toyota said it will be shipping the Tundra to several markets in Latin America besides Venezuela.

On the inbound side of the equation, the Port of Houston said steel imports nearly have hit record numbers this year.

More steel came through in October than in any month since August 1981, said John Horan, the port authority’s director of trade development.

A total of 918,484 tons of steel was brought in on 37 vessels in October, bringing the amount of steel for the first 10 months of the year to more than 4.7 million tons, Horan said. That’s a 25 percent increase over the roughly 3.8 million tons for the same period last year.

Port Executive Director Tom Kornegay said the sizable steel shipments are likely the result of projects that require a long lead time for shipping. That would mean many decisions would have been made before the economy began slipping.

Port statistics released Tuesday show that the number of ships calling at the Houston Ship Channel is up 5 percent, with 6,764 ships through October. The number of containers is up 6 percent.

Even automobile imports are up 4 percent, with 52,000 vehicles arriving during the first 10 months of 2008 versus 50,000 vehicles for the same period last year.

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Old Posted Nov 26, 2008, 5:41 PM
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Finally, we get to produce and not just consume!!!!!!!
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Old Posted Nov 26, 2008, 7:09 PM
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Im in shock.
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Old Posted Nov 26, 2008, 7:19 PM
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This is kind of funny

I was just talking about this with a co-worker at lunch; about what Toyota will do with all of the Tundra's it is producing, but no marketplace to sell them right now. Then I sit down at my desk and read this.

It is good that they are able to ship them somewhere. Just keep the plant humming.
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Old Posted Nov 26, 2008, 9:30 PM
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It helps Texas both in Houston and San Antonio. I am glad to see the Port of Houston continue to rock and with Exports of cars no-less and not just imports.

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Old Posted Nov 27, 2008, 3:23 AM
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Honda did it some years ago from its Marysville, Ohio plant when they first introduced the Accord Coupe. The Ohio plant was the only one making the Coupes at that time so they exported some to Japan.
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Old Posted Dec 5, 2008, 6:48 PM
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Yes, this is indeed good news.
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Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 2:41 AM
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When the above article came out, I had a suspicion their reason was more because they were having trouble selling Toyotas here. Then when they closed the plant in San Antonio for a while it became really clear. Of course, this is not necessary a bad thing, Texas is in an unique situation since we have the plant in San Antonio and Houston with its large seaport.

Now there's this:

http://www.detnews.com/article/20090...+North+America

Quote:
Toyota says it's no longer profitable in North America

David Shepardson / The Detroit News


Washington -- 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.
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Old Posted Jul 22, 2009, 1:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
When the above article came out, I had a suspicion their reason was more because they were having trouble selling Toyotas here. Then when they closed the plant in San Antonio for a while it became really clear. Of course, this is not necessary a bad thing, Texas is in an unique situation since we have the plant in San Antonio and Houston with its large seaport.

Now there's this:

http://www.detnews.com/article/20090...+North+America
I think Toyota put itself in this situation by following the western-style of automaking and putting themselves in this market. Not their fault, they are 3rd or maybe even 4th in Japan so they took a chance by getting deep in the US market and in turn takes the ups and downs of our market as well.
I know that when the economy swings in the other direction, that they will once again be profitable and perhaps be even more profitable than before.
However, their Japanese-style of management came out when they closed the plant for a couple of weeks. By this I mean the tasks of cleaning the parks, the plant and doing other things besides making cars/trucks. In Japan, they have "life-time employment." They would rather "restructure" than lay off an individual, except under extreme circumstances, which sounds like they will be facing those this year.
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Last edited by miaht82; Jul 22, 2009 at 2:13 PM.
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