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Auto blogSun, 21 Sep 2014
The Toyota Tacoma may be getting on in age, but that isn't stopping the Japanese manufacturer from ramping up production at the pickup's Baja California factory. The Mexican plant will soon be home to another 300 jobs as it increases total capacity by 41 percent. The increase is slated for April 2015.
The move is a curious one, considering the Tacoma's age and the fact that General Motors is preparing what, on the surface, appear to be two very competent challengers. The factory increase could be in preparation for the 2016 Taco (spy photos shown above), which is expected to represent a significant overhaul of the long-serving truck.
Toyota's decision to increase capacity could also be due to the factory building freeze implemented by President Akio Toyoda, according to Automotive News. Toyoda put a hold on new factories until 2016, asking executives to squeeze as much production as possible out of remaining factories before bringing any additional facilities online.
Wards Auto has released its North American Light Vehicle Production Forecast for 2014, and the report predicts foreign manufacturers will increase production on the continent some 3.9 percent by 2014. If accurate, that should see 123,000 additional cars, trucks and vans produced in North America, swelling the total number of units produced both by domestic and foreign manufacturers to 16.9 million light vehicles from a projected 15.6 million in 2013. Much of the increase can be attributed to the fact that Toyota intends to produce another car at its Blue Springs, MS plant as well as a new Lexus model at its Georgetown, KY facility in a year's time.
Likewise, Volkswagen intends to move production of a currently imported model to its plant in Puebla, Mexico. Daimler, Honda, Nissan and Mazda also plan to build additional models on North American soil for the first time. Around two-thirds of the new North American manufacturing will take place in Mexico, helping the country soak up a full 20 percent of the content's automotive production for the first time. You can head over to the Wards Auto site for the full report.
It doesn't matter the make or model - modern vehicles are technological miracles when it comes to occupant protection. Take this story out of New York City, which involved two people going for a very wild ride in a Toyota Matrix.
Carlos and Raquel Broadbelt were on the Cross Bronx Expressway overpass when they hit a patch of ice while dodging a pothole, sending them hurtling into a guardrail and over the side of the overpass. They fell 50 feet onto the road below. Despite the catastrophic accident - and the mangled Toyota - both driver and passenger walked away. The couple spent a night in the hospital just for observation.
The Broadbelts' miraculous survival has even surprised doctors, who told Dave Carlin from CBS New York they'd never seen an accident like it. Take a look below for the full news report from CBS New York.