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After going online in 2006, Toyota's San Antonio, Texas truck plant has just built its one-millionth vehicle, the 2014 Tundra 1794 Edition you see above. The plant originally focused on just the Tundra pickup, but the smaller Tacoma started rolling off the line there in 2010, as well.
Toyota's arrangements for its San Antonio plant are coming together after the closure of NUMMI and the announced relocation of Tacoma pickup production. The company will be adding 850 permanent and temporary workers to its labor force in Texas, taking the number of associates from 1,850 to about 2,700 – and that doesn't include increases in the supplier workforce. For those with an eye on the employment scene, Toyota posted the job openings in August and 14,000 people applied.
Now that Toyota has decided the fate of the NUMMI plant, the company has to decide where to move production of the Tacoma and Corolla models built there. The Corolla hasn't been spoken for yet, but Toyota is confirming that its Tacoma line is moving to the San Antonio factory that currently makes the Tundra pickup.
As reported recently, even though Toyota halted Tundra production for a while, the company pledged not to lay off its workers. At a total cost of potentially $1 billion to the company, Toyota instead placed the employees in retraining and civic works programs during a Kaizen and Development Period.
This story is a bit humorous and may even end up saving you a few bucks if you own a flex-fuel vehicle. Local San Antonio news station WOAI is reporting that a number of flex-fuel vehicles that have been running on regular unleaded gas may flash the check engine light the first few times you fill up with E85.
While Toyota expects to see overall growth in the US market next year, the company is cutting production estimates for its new San Antonio full-size truck plant. Originally expected to start at its full capacity of 200,000 units per year, the automaker now expects to build 150,000 Tundra pickups there in 2007. To blame is a shrinking full-size truck market, led by high fuel prices and a decrease in housing starts (we've seen data that strongly correlates the housing market to pickup truck sales)