Closing the last auto factory

Toyota has announced the demise of the last remnant of auto manufacturing on the West Coast, the New United Motor (Nummi) plant in Fremont, California. When GM announced it was withdrawing from the joint venture in June, I predicted the plant was a goner.Toyota has expanded capacity in the US beyond what the downsized market can support, and Nummi is in a high cost area, is the oldest among Toyota's US assembly facilities, and is the only plant organized by the UAW. Toyota originally used Nummi as its toe in the water in 1984, testing the concept of manufacturing cars in the United States. In a joint venture with GM, the company re-opened the closed GM plant in Fremont, extensively modernizing it, and managing the production process, using its own systems and practices. GM got to see first hand how Toyota built cars. And Toyota had the assistance of GM in learning the ropes of dealing with the American business environment -- government, unions, media, and everything else. It was a...(Read Full Post)