NAGOYA (Nikkei)–Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) began mass production Friday of the 11th generation of its Corolla for the domestic market at a Miyagi Prefecture plant.
The automaker seeks to nurture Tohoku, which includes Miyagi and continues to grapple with the fallout from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, into its third domestic production hub alongside the Chubu and Kyushu regions. Toyota began churning out the Aqua hybrid at a factory in Iwate Prefecture, also in Tohoku, at the end of last year.
The company will assemble a total of some 40,000 units a month of the Aqua and the Corolla in Tohoku.
“We thought hard what traits are desired for Japan’s Corolla going forward, and went back to square one to develop it,” President Akio Toyoda said at a ceremony marking the start of Corolla production at the Miyagi plant of subsidiary Central Motor Co. “Let’s show the strength of Japanese manufacturing and revitalize Tohoku and Japan.”
The Miyagi factory will produce Corolla sedans and station wagons, which will account for about 80% of the facility’s planned output of 128,000 units this year.
(The Nikkei, May 12 morning edition)