In December Toyota will begin exports to the Middle East and South America from two of its US plants to relieve the build up of unsold cars at its sales network across North America. The exports will be organised by the Toyota Motor Sales, USA division. It is the first time the company has exported US-made vehicles outside the home market.
Up to 15,000 Sequoia SUVs, built at Toyota's plant in Princeton, Indiana, will be shipped annually to the Middle East. One hundred and fifty more will join 1,000 units of the Tundra going to South America. The Tundra models are being built in San Antonio, Texas.
The company built 33,000 Sequoias at the Indiana plant up to August this year when it suspended production. Overall, however, truck sales were down 35 per cent in North America as the surge in fuel prices and economic downturn took their toll. Production at the San Antonio plant in Texas was also suspended at the beginning of August, but both plants have now resumed production.
Up to 104 days’ of Sequoias had built up in the supply chain by the end of October, which Toyota hopes to bring down to between 30-40 days’ worth, in part through the export programme. Next spring, Toyota will stop producing Tundras at the Indiana plant and will consolidate all truck production in Texas.