TIJUANA, Mexico -- On the eastern edge of gritty Tijuana, alongside barren hillsides and the road to Tecate, lies Toyota Motor Manufacturing de Baja California.
It’s a true outlier.
Unlike its counterpart pickup plant in Texas, it isn’t surrounded by supplier factories or outfitted with the latest technology. Almost all the key components have to be brought in from the U.S., other parts of Mexico or Japan, including engines, transmissions, plastics and stamped metal.
It doesn’t have a rail link, and while it’s just a few miles from the U.S. border, that crossing is open to semitrailers for just 12 hours a day for parts coming in and finished vehicles going out.
Yet the Tijuana plant must feed the voracious U.S. appetite for the Toyota Tacoma, a pickup so popular that it rarely spends more than a week or two on a dealership lot.