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DENNIS SEID: Toyota has reasons for building elsewhere

DENNIS SEID

Last week, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that if Toyota goes ahead with plans to build the Corolla sedan at a new factory in Mexico instead of the U.S., it could be hit with a “big border tax” when the cars are shipped north.

But Toyota – and other automakers – have their reasons for spreading the wealth when it comes to building cars.

The Corolla, as most people in Northeast Mississippi know, is assembled in Blue Springs (as well as in Ontario, Canada). Since October 2011, Toyota Mississippi has built more than 800,000 of the compact cars. Some time late this year, it will hit the 1 million mark.

In 2016, Toyota sold 360,483 Corollas in the U.S. alone. The Corolla is the world’s best selling car, having had more than 40 million sold during its 50-year history. Blue Springs and Canada supply the North American market.

Toyota Mississippi also exports Corollas to 18 countries.

Last April, Toyota said it would invest about $1 billion in a plant in Mexico it would open in 2019 to build the next-generation Corolla. The company already has a plant there, as well as suppliers.

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