TIJUANA, Mexico — Toyota de Mexico President Mike Bafan got a call at 5:30 a.m. from corporate headquarters last summer informing him that the Corolla factory his unit was building in central Mexico would have a much different purpose.
Instead of making compact cars, the plant in Guanajuato would shift to the Tacoma pickup that's also assembled in San Antonio and here in Baja California, where Bafan has his office.
Bafan was immediately on board. He saw even greater potential for Guanajuato as a truck plant.
"They said, 'How is this going to change your whole plan now? Construction has already begun,' " Bafan recalled in an interview last month. "I said, 'Zilch.' The way we've designed that plant, I can just keep building, and when I'm ready to bring in the equipment, it'll be body-on-frame."