* Toyota seeking $73 mln in damages on factory closure
* GM pulled out of venture last year as part of restructuring
* Plant was last major auto factory on U.S. west coast
TOKYO, Dec 1 Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said it
has filed a lawsuit against Motors Liquidation Co, the company
responsible for the discarded assets of the former General
Motors, seeking $73 million in damages related to the closure of
their joint factory.
Japan's leading automaker is claiming the award to cover
research and development costs that it said resulted from a
breach of contract by the U.S. company when their plant in
California, New United Motor Manufacturing Inc, or Nummi, was
shuttered earlier this year.
"It's part of the process of winding down the Nummi venture,"
Toyota spokesman Keisuke Kirimoto said.
GM pulled out of the venture last year as part of its
bankruptcy restructuring, from which it has emerged and followed
last month with the world's largest initial public offering.
The plant, the last major auto factory on the U.S. west coat,
was eventually closed, laying off 4,700 workers in a bid to trim
costs as demand for cars slumped amid a global recession.
In May, Toyota sold the facility to electric car partner
Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) for about $42 million.
The deal includes 207 acres, or about 55 percent of the land
at the site, but excludes manufacturing equipment.
(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Joseph