Toyota says it’s losing money in USA

Toyota's top executive in the United States said Monday the company was reviewing its entire operation here, including whether to close a factory in California and when to open a factory in Mississippi.

In an hour-long interview with reporters at Toyota's Washington office, Yoshimi Inaba said Toyota is not profitable in North America despite cost cutting in the organization [and despite NASCAR involvement], but he said he hopes the company could be profitable in its next fiscal year in North America. Inaba, who is president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor America and chairman and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA, is taking up his responsibilities at a crucial time for the Japanese automaker.

Toyota's sales have fallen 38 percent in the first six months of the year — to 770,000 cars and trucks from nearly 1.25 million vehicles in the first six months of 2008. U.S. industry auto sales fell 35 percent in the first half of the year.

Among the issues the company is considering in its re-evaluation process is whether to keep open the 25-year-old New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. assembly plant in Fremont, Calif. The plant, which employs 4,700 people, is a joint venture formed with General Motors, but the Detroit automaker recently withdrew from the pact during its stay in bankruptcy court.

"That put us in a very difficult position," Inaba said. "We are carefully evaluating all the options."

He didn't commit to a timetable for a decision on Nummi, but said a decision would be made "quite soon." He said Toyota hadn't received an incentive package from California yet. More at Detroit News

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