• Feb 18th 2011 at 7:59AM
  • 13
The Yen is soaring, and that means it's costing Japanese manufacturers a lot of money to sell goods here in the United States. Some are moving areas of production to other countries, yet Toyota has decided to open its first new Japanese manufacturing facility in nearly 20 years.

Toyota's newest facility is called the Miyagi factory and it sits 160 miles north of Tokyo. Currently, production there is limited to work on the Yaris, but Toyota plans to add two more compact vehicles by April.

This new facility is designed to cut energy demand and speed up production efforts. Cars are positioned parallel to each other on the line rather than nose to tail. This allows work to be done on both the front and rear of the vehicles simultaneously. Time on the assebmly line has been cut 35 percent because of this move.

Changes to production and facilities, like the ones employed in the new Miyagi factory, will help Toyota reduce its capital spending by as much as 40 percent. A huge savings for a Japanese manufacturer that's patiently waiting for the U.S. Dollar to play catch up with the Yen.

[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      The main point from this article is that despite higher domestic costs, Toyota is still investing in manufacturing in its home market and a low price car for that matter (Yaris and 2 other compacts).

      There is no reason for U.S. firms to continue exporting jobs if they would invest in the right production equipment and training the workforce AND build it in a non-Union state.
        • 4 Years Ago
        GM will invest $145 million and start building small cars in Michigan this year. 1550 new jobs! Thank you Government Motors and Pres. Obama.
      • 4 Years Ago
      TTAC had an interesting take on this plant: it's designed to be very simple and parts of it to be mobile so that it can be moved or easily replicated in any country with low-cost labor. In other words, they didn't see this as a long-term jobs win for Japan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wax on wax off
        • 4 Years Ago
        Beat me to it, lol.
      • 4 Years Ago
      why would toyota build a plant in japan with the strong yen guess this was planned a long time ago in weak yen days

      funny post from overseas ford wheels stolen off where were the security guards ? a sleep ?

        • 4 Years Ago
        "They must have been working for at least an hour or two and that's the thing that's shocking... with so many cars passing by, that nobody saw anything," said general manager Mark Holian.


      • 4 Years Ago
      Pretty interesting that Toyota can increase production rates simply by aligning the cars in parallel on the production line. One of those things where everyone alse in the industry is saying "its so simple, why didn't we think of it?!"
        • 4 Years Ago
        I visited a plant which was built over 30 years ago which does this right here in the US. At that plant, they didn't do it on the entire line, just part of it where the chassis was being assembled. Then they turned the cars end to end before the engine was put in. Toyota did not think of this idea first!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Its not just the orientation of the cars on the line. The entire workflow was reviewed & revised. Toyota has built a number of plants around the world since their last Japanese plant was built so those kinds of efficiency gains aren't that surprising. Think of the advances in control systems, robotics and paint systems in the last 20 years. On top of that, this plant is building commodity cars so every penny they can squeeze out is important.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It isn't a true increase in production rates - the thought is that you decrease the space needed for the line. The premise that you can work on both ends of the car at once is still flawed, in that you can't do certain things out-of-order anyway.

        Besides, end-on, you can still work on both sides of the car at once, and last I checked, there are many things on a car that have two sides to them...
      • 4 Years Ago
      So how do they put the seats in? Do they have to turn the cars?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota, as american as illegally harvested whale meat.
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