Toyota said it will invest $391 million into its truck plant in San Antonio where it makes the full-size Tundra and mid-size Tacoma pickups to upgrade technology. It’s the third investment in the nearly 13-year-old plant, bringing the total investment to date to over $3 billion.
Toyota spokeswoman Melissa Sparks said the new investment mostly targets improving advanced technology to increase flexibility and meet changing customer demand for new features, including the possibility of new products down the line. “It’s really about flexibility and making sure we stay cutting edge so we can make those shifts when needed,” she said.
The announcement is also part of $13 billion Toyota has committed to investing in its U.S. operations over five years through 2021.
Toyota says the investment reflects strong customer demand for both trucks. Year to date through August, Toyota had sold 169,292 Tacomas and 78,012 Tundras in the U.S., which represented increases of 4.7% and 2.2% respectively over the same period in 2018. The San Antonio assembly plant is the only place where Toyota builds the Tundra and one of two plants where it builds the Tacoma, alongside a factory in Baja California, Mexico.
The San Antonio plant totals around 2.2 million square feet and employs more than 3,200. The sprawling campus is also home to 23 onsite suppliers of parts like seats and headliners, most of whom operate in separate buildings totaling another 2 million square feet, Sparks said. Including those suppliers, total employment at the site is more than 7,200.
The San Antonio plant began production of the Tundra in October 2006. Toyota launched Tacoma production in summer of 2010 following a $100 million investment. Separately, Toyota also said it will invest $500,000 over five years in Alamo Promise, a workforce development program run by a local community college district that provides two years worth of tuition to eligible students.