Motor Mfg. North America Inc. will eliminate all 200 of its temporary workers at its San Antonio assembly plant as the auto maker slows production of its largest U.S. models in the face of falling consumer demand.
“We’re keeping all of our regularteam members, but we have to release about 200 people from the variable workforce in Texas,” Toyota manufacturing spokesman Mike Goss tells Ward’s.
San Antonio builds the Tundra fullsize pickup truck, which Xavier Dominicis, spokesman for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. says had a 116 days’ supply as of yesterday, up significantly from the level of stock year-ago.
Toyota earlier eliminated all temporary workers at its Princeton, IN, plant, which also produces the Tundra.
“We’re trying to keep our plants open as much as possible and keep our team members employed and weather the storm,” Goss says of falling demand for large vehicles as gas prices hit record highs.
The Ward’s Large Pickup segment posted a 39.1% sales decline in May, while deliveries of models in the Large SUV group tumbled 41.9%.
In addition to the job cuts at San Antonio, production at the plant will be down for 14 non-consecutive days between now and the end of October to reduce Tundra stocks, Goss says.
The Princeton facility, which also builds the Sienna minivan and Sequoia fullsize SUV, will eliminate six build days between now and the end of August, although Goss says further downtime in September and October is expected.
Goss says Toyota is “seeing less and less demand for Tundra and Sequoia,” which share a platform.
The production cuts also will have a ripple affect on Toyota’s Huntsville, AL, engine plant, which makes the 5.7L V-8 used in the Tundra and Sequoia.
“They’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do,” Goss says of Alabama downtime.
He notes the onsite suppliers at the San Antonio plant also will need to adjust production volumes. Besides cutting production days, the line will be slowed to build a specified number of Tundras per shift, Goss says, without providing a number.
“If they hit the number before eight hours, we’ll just stop,” Goss elaborates, adding workers will have the option of remaining at the plant to under go training for the final hour of their shift.
On the 14 days the line is down, workers will be paid to receive extra training or participate in plant-improvement activities. Or they can choose to take unpaid time off, Goss says.
The latest production slowdown for Tundra and Sequoia follows cutbacks earlier this spring that did not result in layoffs.