Toyota Motor inaugurated its first new factory in Japan in nearly two decades on Wednesday, betting that advanced, low-cost Japanese production techniques can prevail even as a strong yen drives many manufacturers abroad.
The 120,000 unit-a-year plant at its subsidiary Central Motor will add to a growing production base for Toyota in northeastern Japan, just as the world’s biggest automaker is losing money on many export-bound cars with the yen trading not far above 80 to the dollar — a stone’s throw from a record high set more than 15 years ago.
But with hundreds of thousands of domestic jobs depending on Toyota, which already produces a far higher percentage of its cars in Japan than domestic rivals Nissan Motor and Honda Motor, President Akio Toyoda has promised to try to build at least 3 million cars a year in Japan.
"You read in the newspapers these days that with the strong yen, it’s difficult to make cars in Japan and export them," Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho said in remarks to guests and company officials at the plant’s opening ceremony on Wednesday.
Read the rest of the story: Toyota, defying strong yen, opens new Japan plant.