Japanese automaker Toyota on Thursday responded to a tweet from President-elect Donald Trump that threatened the company with a "border tax" if it opened a planned factory in Mexico. In its reply, Toyota said its Mexico plant would not cost the United States any jobs and that it complements operations in the United States. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Toyota Motor Corporation assured President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday that a planned auto factory in Mexico won't take any jobs from the United States.
The automaker's response was prompted by a tweet from Trump Thursday that read, "Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax."
In a statement, Toyota clarified that the new plant will be built in Guanajuato, Mexico, not Baja -- although the company does have a plant there.
"Toyota has been part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for nearly 60 years. With more than $21.9 billion direct investment in the U.S., 10 manufacturing facilities, 1,500 dealerships and 136,000 employees, Toyota looks forward to collaborating with the Trump Administration to serve in the best interests of consumers and the automotive industry," Toyota said.
Keeping and bringing jobs to the United States was a central issue in Trump's campaign, and the president-elect has already made multiple moves aimed at accomplishing a growing domestic labor market.
In its response, Toyota added that its Mexico operations complement U.S. operations, particularly a truck plant in San Antonio that produced 230,000 Tundras and Tacomas last year. It also said $700 million was invested last year at plants in Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and West Virginia.
Asian governments and businesses have been wary of Trump's coming administration, partly because he plans to cancel the Trans Pacific Partnership -- a trade deal adopted last year aimed at facilitating business among the United States and several Pacific Rim nations.
Shares of Toyota (NYSE: TM) fell on the New York Stock Exchange in Thursday trading after Trump's tweet, before finishing at $120.44.