Toyota expects its new Indiana truck plant to break its own record for rapid ramp-ups.
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"We will do it in under 16," Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana President Seizo Okamoto said Monday.
The target pushes an envelope that Toyota already has pushed to the extreme.
In 1988, the automaker took 48 weeks to get the first shift of its Corolla plant in Cambridge, Ontario, up to speed. That same year, it took 40 weeks to get first-shift production of Camrys up to full-speed at its plant in Georgetown, Ky.
Two years ago, Toyota seemed to surprise even itself when the first Indiana plant reached full line-speed on a new product -- the full-sized Tundra pickup -- in just 16 weeks.
While it took Toyota 20 weeks in 1989 to spin off the second shift in Georgetown, Princeton got its second shift up to full speed in a single week.
Now, Toyota is spending $800 million to construct a second plant in Princeton that will build a new version of the Sienna minivan starting in 2003.
Okamoto said that beating the schedules is getting tougher, but he said the plant will do it.
"It will be a little more aggressive," he said.
"But it gets harder each time" to set a record.
Okamoto said the secret to Indiana's speed is in advanced training of its workers.
Comparing Indiana's first plant to that of Georgetown, he said, "The biggest difference was timing in our hiring. (Georgetown) hired gradually as they increased production. We concluded all our hiring before start-up."