How Expanding Tacoma Production Will Help Tundra

2013_TMMBC_10_Anniversary_005 II

By Tim Esterdahl

Toyota Division General Manager Bill Fay told automotive journalists at the 2015 New York International Auto Show that the company will add a third shift this month at its Tijuana, Mexico, plant to help fill the demand for Toyota pickups. This marks the first time (in a long while) Toyota has added a third shift to any of its North American plants. This production increase will help meet the Tacoma demand, but it also has the benefit of helping the Tundra. Here's why.

As we previously reported, adding a third shift in Tijuana will boost total Tacoma production to 110,000 trucks per year. Last year, the plant produced 71,399 pickups. This will ease the production strain being felt at the San Antonio plant, where the production mix of the two pickups can alternate from one month to the next.

Fay said the San Antonio plant currently is operating at maximum capacity. In fact, Fay said Toyota has been working on ways to incrementally raise capacity to meet increasing demand, like making assembly line tweaks that have added up to more than 7,000 additional units a year. Apparently that wasn't enough, so adding the third shift to the Tijuana plant is the next step.

This strategy follows the wishes of Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda. He has been pressing his executives to find more ways to boost production at existing facilities instead of investing in new building or factories.

The Tijuana plant broke ground in 2003 and produces certain Tacomas and Tacoma truck beds. It is called a knock-down facility, handling only the body welding, painting and assembly of vehicles as opposed to building the total vehicle. This plant supplements the production at the San Antonio facility, where both the Tacoma and Tundra are built from start to finish. Having a knock-down plant allows Toyota to more easily employ its "kaizen" philosophy of continuous improvement — for all team members, not just management — and theoretically experiment in ways that would be too difficult and costly at a traditional plant

Toyota has been quiet about adding a third shift to the San Antonio plant, but it could be waiting to see how Tijuana handles the change. Toyota will also add a third shift to its Indiana plant, where the Highlander SUV is built.

Editor's Note: A Toyota spokesperson from the Indiana plant says that plant is not running a third shift and has no plans or discussions about running a third shift.

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How about using US American Labor to sell the truck in the US? How about adding a 3rd shift in the US? Toyota is still charging the US consumer the rate for the "Old Pickup Tax". That is why Toyota has higher pricing vs. the completion. What a rip off!

As long as there is a demand for brand new 10 year old trucks they will have to increase production to meet the lemmings needs.Yes,they should be built here in the USA.

Here's an another article PUTC missed.

The conversion work still needs to be done, which is a pity as it drives up the prices.

This is really about 2016 and the new Tacoma. It will sell well and Toyota wants to get ahead of anticipated demand now. The fact they can sell all the 5 year old trucks they can make now certainty is icing on the cake.

Tundra will sell about 110K units this year, less the next and the next till they decide to invest in serious upgrades. New Titan will cut into Tundra sales by 20K units the first year.

Toyota doesn't care though and won't till 2017 at the earliest.

It good to see more production of pickups.

The Mexican made pickups will be of the same or even better quality than US pickups.

Even our Thai made midsizers are of an overall excellent quality.

Mr. Toyoda should also realise that having production broken in two plants might save money in the short term, but will cost in the longer term.

Maybe they can move all Taco production to Mexico and keep Tundra production in Texas.

Just speaking for myself,I would love to see more good paying jobs here in the USA.There is nothing wrong with that.

Here's what really going on.
2 fold

#1 Toyota smells blood in the water cause the 2015 F-150 isn't going to sell.

#2 Toyota is worried about the Colorado-Canyon running away as the new sales leader.

Toyota isn't stupid they know the more trucks they put out there the more pressure they can put on the dealerships to sell them.
If you make them they will come.

@Big Al From Oz
At least they will get some proper factory certification, with Walkingshaw doing the conversions.
My only concern is anything written by that idiot Joshua Dowling should be taken with a grain of salt
Mining Industry wants them? What Rubbish. He is still confusing
the special RAM "Pit Ponies" which were converted and offered to the mining industry by a U.S. Specialist Mining equipment company. These had a Max speed of 40kmh and were extensively modified to prevent corrosion


We agree.

@BAFO - The Tijuana Tacomas are already better built than the San Antonio Tacomas. The SA plant has logistical/management issue.

But it's a bit of a letdown, knowing your *American* truck was built in Mexico, whether it's a Chevy, GMC, Ram or Toyota. Especially with the price tag and profitability they carry. So it's insult after insult, if not betrayal.

And yeah, while products Hecho en Mexico aren't exactly "imports", American pickups are kind of expected to employ lots of Americans.

Actually do employ a lot of Americans. North Americans, Canadians and Mexicans, all part of NAFTA

TMMBC only builds trucks for Mexico. TMMTX does not ship trucks to Mexico. Do your research next time.

Big Al, have you ever heard about the trade in-balance that is a very bad thing for the US? Where we IMPORT a lot more than we export? But we must be doing something right to NOT be a third world country when we can be so prosperous while still importing a LOT more than we export! I hope you realize I had to bring this to light after your "If the US didn't have global trade the US would be a third world country" is absolutely absurd!

@Sandman 4x4
Fact of life many things consumed in the U.S. are imported, the fact that you import more than you export is not a good thing, but just adds to the total debt, that has to be payed back.
We do not get a free ride as far as International Trade goes
If the U.S. Did not trade it would be a 4th world, not 3rd World
To quote Dire Straits
"Something for nothing and you chicks for free" I wish that was true

I work at the San Antonio plant. When doing a third shift it isn't a Monday through Friday shift. We work currently two rotations 630am - 630pm two weeks and then 630pm - 630am two weeks. Doing a third shift into the mix completely Changes the dynamic of shifts. The majority of the team members at the plant don't want the change to their schedule. Just because you think the American plants would want these changes we don't let them work the third shift. It's not a good change its a hard change. If they decide to do this at the San Antonio plant team members will have to really work hard and be creative to work ways to see their families. Like me for example my husband and I both work their on opposite shifts because we have kids so that works so someone is home with the kids at night. So currently we for sure get weekends together that is gauranteed. But if they do a third shift then we won't always be guaranteed time together and their will be days where we are on the same shift which will be awesome but then we won't have someone to get the boys on the bus in the morning and given the kids are in Elementry school this isn't a good thing we can't leave them alone when we leave at 430-500am. So before you think we WANT and NEED this change at our plants it isn't always a good thing. The plant already employees 2200 people. So their are PLEANTY of Americans that are getting employment from Toyota all over the United States.

I do have empathy for you. But the reality is many people, in fact millions do what you are doing. Life can be tough.

In my job we have rolling shifts with two week intervals. I do know it can be hard. The best thing is to relax/rest when you can and have a good diet.

But there is also the upside to rolling shifts, that many don't have when working "9-5", that is the flexibility to organise those tasks that can only be done during "9-5" hours.

In Australia we have what is call Child Care Centres.

Maybe you should quit and find a job that is more suited to your expected lifestyle. No one is forcing you to work for Toyota.

By they way, tell your fellow workers to keep up the good work.

If it becomes to hard for too many, then that will also give reason for Toyota to move to Mexico.

At least you don't have to pay the "union tax" to the UAW and waste you money.

Having Tacomas made in Mexico would not effect most people's decision to buy one (mine as well).

@Big Al--Little Tx is not complaining about her job or work shift but explaining why a 3rd shift will not work in San Antonio. From what she is saying that she and her husband have their shifts work for them because someone is always at home when they need to be for their children. It is hard for working families with younger children to get affordable day care. It is good to get the perspective of someone who actually works at the San Antonio plant.


Thanks for posting the article and a realistic dose of reality. The reply comments from the Ford and GM employees and dealers above are absolutely friggin hilarious.

At least Toyota is the "one" company that can build a cost effective truck that will last and I am willing to spend my hard earned money for.

And thanks again @LittleTx and everyone at the San Antonio plant for building the best truck available in North America. You have no idea how nice it is to have a truck that you can drive and not have constant repairs or be in the shop full time.

at the Indiana plant there is a ton of interest in this article. We have not been told ANYTHING about going to 3 shifts in the article is states that the Indiana plant that builds the highlander is going to be going to 3 shifts does anyone that works at the other plants know if this is true. There was communication that it was not true but the article seems legit and just on a personal note I think 3 shifts is needed.

@Robert Ryan - Mexico is considered outside of North America, only when it comes to commerce. OEMs are there for the cheap wages exclusively, let's not kid ourselves. Hence NAFTA.

@BAFO - I have no problem with imports, especially Toyotas, BMWs and VWs built outside of NAFTA. You generally get a better assembled car when built in their homeland, than in the US/Mexico. It may sound crazy for import OEMs, (Toyota, BMW, etc) to build in the US for export, but that's what lower wages here in the US does, vs their wages at home.

German car buyers in Germany would no doubt consider BMWs, VW, etc, built in the US and Mexico (then imported to Germany) as a "letdown" vs their own domestically built cars.

But Toyota has been pimping the fact that their pickup trucks are "Made in the USA" for decades now. You do get a sense of pride when owning/driving a truck, knowing it was built it the US. It's one of the things we've come to expect. I'd pay extra for that.

If they start selling Chinese made midsize or compact pickups here, I'd probably buy one, provided the price is 'dirt cheap' enough.

Headline should've read: "Toyota to whip up more Mexican Tacos for hungry US market "

For this at the Indiana plant we have NOT heard anything since last year about a third shift. And the last we heard was it was NOT going to happen at that time. But that doesn't mean it won't ever happen.

I do absolutely LOVE my job! I wasn't complaining about the rotating shifts. Like Jeff stated the shifts we have now work for myself and my husband to keep us from having to pay $700 a month or more for childcare. We leave for work at 430-500am and we can't be there to get the kids to the bus and we certainly can't leave them there alone. So adding a third shift would throw off our whole entire family balance. Also the kids have a hard enough time missing mom and dad the way the do I can imagine making it harder on them. If I were single with no kids give it to me I could handle it and take it no problems. I would love to add more jobs to the Americans but sometimes the Americans that are at the plant can only handle so much. They have opinions and feelings on what's happening as well.

My frustration comes from people who bash Toyota for being foreign they say it's not American made and they aren't supporting Americans. I'm sorry if your claiming the 2200 employees in San Antonio don't put in 10 hour shifts and sometimes two Saturday's a month to satisfy customer demand and that Toyota doesn't have better insurance coverage than most employers and our pay is astounding. I graduated high school and I'm a Group Leader I make more than I'll ever make anywhere. I could never get a job like this anywhere else. Toyota is better to us than most American employers are.

I love Toyota and all that they stand for! I know the amount of work the employees put in, I know the quality thay toyota expects out of their vehicles before they leave the plant I own two Toyotas and I'll never own anything else. I may be bias but Toyota rocks and no one will ever change my views just Because I may disagree with a Change they may have coming our way we always find ways to adapt I just like the way it works now Because it works for us. :-)

@Jeff S,
"The majority of the team members at the plant don't want the change to their schedule. Just because you think the American plants would want these changes we don't let them work the third shift. It's not a good change its a hard change. If they decide to do this at the San Antonio plant team members will have to really work hard and be creative to work ways to see their families."

Looks like she thinks she's doing it tough.

@Jeff S last year they were doing studies on it and told us they chose NOT to do it. But they did say it doesn't mean that it would never happen. Circumstances and things change. But at this time just like yall we have not heard anything on doing third shift rotation. If they choose to it will take months another 1000 team members so it won't be an overnight change.


Your either a Toyota employee yourself or you work for Tim.

Leaving the factory question, out in Tacoma sales land we have been forever short of Tacomas to sell. You may have two or three, we could work with fifteen like we do with Corollas and Camrys. You can watch sales leave in frustration because we have to drive them toward the ones we do have. They may want a manual transmission short box double cab and shake their heads as we aim them toward the four cylinder extended cab that we do have in stock. We traditionally run out in July and then start getting dribbles sometime in late September. This creates a gash throughout the Toyota lineup that allows all the other carmakers to catch up in. You'll whip the other guys all the way till then and suddenly you're out of bullets and have to start the same shimmy, trying to talk people into a used one. However used Tacomas often cost as much or more than the new ones since they are so hard to obtain. If they're going to beat the competition somebody needs to be of one mind to find an answer. If they lose money on every Tundra they sell why not hit the Tacoma harder. This vision has to match from top to bottom. Guys will walk around the Colorado because of previous Chevrolet experiences to the Tacoma. They do it because our best advertising, our customers, shows them that the trucks last three times longer than the competition and the Colorado is priced a bit higher anyway. Everybody needs to see the same direction. I get it but do you? Shoot, they make these things in South America too or further than that so they could just eat the chicken tax and bring them from Thailand if they had to. Why not help them figure it out?

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