How do Toyota's planners determine if they need a new plant in North America?
The company assembled 1.56 million cars and trucks in North America in 2005, while selling 2.47 million units. That means it assembled in North America 63 percent of the vehicles it sold here.
So today Toyota is assembling more vehicles in North America than its 60 percent minimum target for local production.
But if Toyota's decade-long average growth rate of 8 percent per year continues, it will be selling 3.63 million units in 2010. At a more modest 5 percent, it will sell 3.15 million in 2010. That means Toyota will need between 1.7 million units and 2.2 million units of North American capacity in 2010.
Given Toyota's recent expansion announcements in Texas, Canada and Mexico, it will have about 2.06 million units of capacity in North America.
That's enough to cover a modest growth rate.
But it would not represent 60 percent of a more aggressive growth rate, or any sales gains made after 2010.
You may e-mail Mark Rechtin at [email protected]