Toyota Motor Corp. contemplates on building a new engine factory within a few years in the devastated Miyagi prefecture of Japan. It will also transfer the production of its wholly owned subsidiary Toyota Motor Tohoku Corp. to the region. Toyota is the carmaker that suffered the most due to the March 11 earthquake that hit Japan.
Kozo Sakurai, the company’s managing director, said in an interview at the plant in Taiwa, Miyagi, that this kind of disaster comes only “once in a thousand years.”
He also added that the risk of earthquake is higher in regions that have not been hit yet, and thus, it is actually a chance for the Miyagi area. The Taiwa plant manufactures anti-lock brake systems, suspension systems and axles.
In January, as part of a plan to turn the northern Tohoku region (which includes Iwate and Miyagi) into a small-car production hub, Toyota’s unit Central Motor Co. started production of the Yaris compact vehicle at a new factory in Ohira.
The plan generally remains unchanged even after the magnitude-9 earthquake last March, Central Motor's production operations head Makoto Moriya disclosed.
In April 2008, Toyota Tohoku had already secured 324,000 square meters (3.5 million square feet) of land adjacent to the Taiwa plant with a goal to manufacture 200,000 engines annually for compact cars.