After nearly three years of market setbacks, Toyota Motor Corp. is preparing to boost production at its San Antonio pickup factory.
The company is hiring 850 workers to launch a second shift in February, said Mike Goss, Toyota manufacturing spokesman in Erlanger, Ky. The plant eliminated its second shift amid disappointing Tundra sales in 2008 after little more than a year of production.
The increase is necessary for San Antonio to take over production of the mid-sized Tacoma pickup in July. Toyota is moving the Tacoma to Texas from New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, Calif., which Toyota is closing.
Combined Tacoma and Tundra output will represent volume of about 150,000 pickups for the Texas plant -- still short of its planned capacity.
San Antonio opened in late 2006 with a plan to produce 200,000 Tundras annually. But the collapse of the full-sized pickup market and the past year of economic difficulties have hurt the plant.
Goss said that the 21 on-site suppliers at the San Antonio plant also are hiring workers for a second shift. But he says Toyota does not monitor suppliers' employment levels.
“Because they're dedicated suppliers, they have to move in step with us,” he said. “If we're hiring for a second shift, they are, too.”