Mississippi-built Corollas to be exported

toyota-logoBy Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

BLUE SPRINGS – Starting in 2014, Corolla sedans built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi will be exported for the first time.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday that shipments would be sent beginning in April to 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

TMMMS, which built its first car in October 2011, began building the 11th-generation Corolla in August. The compact sedan is the world’s best-selling vehicle of all time, with more than 40 million sold since 1966.

“Toyota’s U.S. manufacturing operations continue to grow as a key supplier of cars and trucks for global markets, which is only possible thanks to the dedication and high-quality work of our team members here,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota’s North America region. “The export of U.S.-built Corolla sedans to Latin America and the Caribbean will help to further solidify our U.S. manufacturing base.”

Toyota last year set an all-time company record in the U.S. with more than 124,000 U.S.-built vehicles exported to 21 global markets, a 45 percent increase over 2011.

The Japanese automaker expects to send more than 7,500 Corollas during the year to Latin America and the Caribbean.

TMMMS will easily be able to handle that amount. The plant earlier this year boosted production to a rate of 160,000 annually, or 10,000 more than originally planned.

The added capacity “was increased to support increased demand, both domestically and for export,” said Kevin Burgess, Toyota Mississippi’s assistant manager of human resources and general affairs.

Burgess also said no additional workers will be added to the current workforce of about 2,000 people.

“We are already at the employment level needed for this production, including Corolla exports for export,” he said.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com