MEXICO CITY—Toyota Motor Corp. will open its first passenger car factory in Mexico, ending a freeze on new assembly plants, two people with direct knowledge of the plan said.
The world's largest automaker will give details about the plan on Wednesday in Mexico, the people said, asking not to be named as the official announcement hasn't been made. The Japanese company will spend about $1 billion building the plant, which will be able to assemble 200,000 Corolla cars annually for the North American market, one person said.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda halted construction of new factories after an overexpansion prior to the global financial crisis resulted in the company posting an annual loss in 2009, its first in 59 years. The grandson of the company's founder said at a meeting with individual investors last month that Toyota had reached a new stage and that new plants were within sight.
“There has not been a decision to build a new plant,” a Toyota spokesman said in an email. “We are always considering a globally optimized production structure.”
Toyoda's push to squeeze more output from existing factories has led to the car maker utilizing more than 90 percent of its global production capacity, compared with about 70 percent in 2009, Toyota said last month. Executives also said cost-saving measures have reduced the amount of investment needed for a new plant by 40 percent.