Toyota had time to ponder its next move after CEO Akio Toyoda halted new plant projects in the wake of its 2010 recall crisis. The company also said it wanted to improve capacity utilization of existing plants.
The new manufacturing strategy is tied in with the Toyota New Global Architecture, which will be used in the next-generation Corolla slated to be the plant's first vehicle, Leroy said.
"With this new plant in Mexico, we definitely want to do some things very differently," he said. "It should not just be a kind of copy-paste of what we did in the past."
Although the plant will have new technology, that will not be the main thrust, Leroy said. He said Toyota wants to change the layout and workflow inside the plant with shorter production lines, as well as the flow of part supplies.
"Because of the concept of the plant and because the product is different, we can assemble the parts in a different condition, which means make the lines shorter, which is also quite good in terms of global competitiveness," he said.
The Guanajuato plant will be Toyota's first car factory in Mexico. It builds the Tacoma pickup in Tijuana, Mexico.