DETROIT, July 10 Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T)
said on Friday it would consider liquidating its stake in a
California-based joint venture with General Motors Corp
GMGMQ.PK after the U.S. automaker pulled out of the venture.
Toyota has been mulling options for the Fremont, California
auto plant -- commonly known by its acronym NUMMI for the New
United Motor Manufacturing Inc -- since GM cut operating ties
to the plant in late June.
GM and Toyota had been 50-50 partners in the northern California auto plant since 1984.
"We need to determine whether it can be economically
feasible to contract with NUMMI without GM," Toyota said in a
statement. "Under the current business circumstances, Toyota
regrettably must also consider taking necessary steps to
dissolve the joint venture."
Toyota spokesman Steve Curtis said the automaker hoped to
make a decision on NUMMI "as soon as possible."
The news came as a new General Motors emerged from
bankruptcy protection on Friday, by completing the sale of its
best assets to a company funded by the U.S. Treasury.
The plant, which employees over 5,000 workers, builds the
Corolla sedan and the Tacoma compact pickup truck for Toyota.
The Pontiac Vibe -- the only GM vehicle built at the plant --
will go out of production in August under a previously
announced plan by GM.
"NUMMI has been a model of U.S.-Japan industry
collaboration as long as 25 years, but GM's decision to abandon
NUMMI and discontinue its production of the Pontiac Vibe have
prompted a set of difficult and complex decisions for Toyota,"
Toyota, which surpassed GM as the world's top automaker in
2008, previously said it wanted to keep the joint venture and
expressed disappointment at GM's decision, and said it would
consider whether to continue operating the plant on its own.
GM and Toyota set up the joint venture 25 years ago when
both sides had a clear stake in its success.
The U.S. automaker was hoping to learn from Toyota's "lean"
manufacturing techniques, which minimizes waste and inventory
to keep costs down. Toyota, meanwhile, needed a local
production base at a time when Japan's export boom was under
(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Chang-ran Kim; editing by Andre