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President-elect Donald Trump tweeted his displeasure at carmaker Toyota on Thursday, threatening to impose taxes on the Japanese company if it produced its Corolla model in Mexico.
“Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for US. NO WAY!” the president-elect tweeted. “Build plant in US or pay big border tax.”
The $1 billion plant, meant to expand production of Toyota’s Corolla line, was announced in April 2015 and is expected to open in 2019.
The company also produces the model at plants in Mississippi and Ontario, Canada. According to the 2015 announcement, the Corolla production in Mexico would replace Toyota’s plant in Canada, not the US.
Additionally, the new Toyota plant will not be in Baja, Mexico – as Trump tweeted – but instead in Guanajuato, Mexico. Toyota has operated a plant in Baja since 2002, where it makes Tacoma pick-up trucks, not Corollas.
Toyota responded to the tweet by reiterating that no production or jobs would leave the US when the new plant went online, and that the automaker “looks forward to collaborating with the Trump administration.” The company also said it has more than $21.9 billion in direct investments in the US and more than 136,000 American employees.
Immediately after Trump’s tweet, shares of Toyota dove slightly into the red, down 0.5% as of 1:27 p.m. ET.
Since his election, Trump has been touting his “America First” economic agenda by pushing companies to keep jobs and production in the US. For instance, he managed to convince United Technologies to keep hundreds of jobs related to the production of its Carrier air conditioners in Indiana by giving the company $7 million in tax incentives.
This is the second time in a week that Trump has gone after an automaker. Trump attacked GM on Tuesday for supposedly moving production of its Cruze model to Mexico. GM said most US-sold Cruze cars are built in Ohio.
UPDATE: Here is the full statement from Toyota provided to Business Insider:
“Toyota has been part of the cultural fabric in the US for nearly 60 years. Production volume or employment in the US will not decrease as a result of our new plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, announced in April 2015. With more than $21.9 billion direct investment in the US, 10 manufacturing facilities, 1,500 dealerships and 136,000 employees, Toyota looks forward to collaborating with the Trump administration to serve in the best interests of consumers and the automotive industry.
“In 2015, Toyota exported more than 160,000 US-built vehicles to 40 countries, helping to establish the US as a global export hub.
“Our manufacturing facilities in Baja, Mexico, established in 2002, support production at our San Antonio, Texas, plant, where 3,300 team members produced over 230,000 Tundras and Tacomas in 2016.
“Recent manufacturing expansions by Toyota in the US include:
- $360 million investment in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, adding 750 new jobs $150 million investment at its Huntsville, Alabama, plant $100 million investment in Toyota’s Princeton, Indiana, plant, adding 300 jobs $90 million investment at its Buffalo, West Virginia, plant, adding 80 jobs”
- Markets Insider