NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Toyota Motor Corp. is ready to expand North American production again. But is the plan for one new auto factory or two?
Economic development officials in the South believe Toyota has been perusing sites in Mississippi, Arkansas and other states for what could be an eighth North American assembly plant.
But the site of a seventh plant has to be settled first. Toyota could decide as early as this week whether to build a North American assembly plant near Woodstock, Ontario.
Toyota had only four North American assembly plants in operation prior to last year. One plant was opened last year in Mexico, and another is under construction in San Antonio.
Jim Wiseman, vice president for corporate affairs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America Inc., dismisses speculation that there actually are two plants in the works instead of one.
"There are no formal site searches going on in the South," Wiseman says. "We've looked at a lot of sites. And we continue to consider further ways of expanding our manufacturing base here. But a lot of what's being talked about is speculation."