Toyota Motor Corp closed its joint manufacturing plant with General Motors Co in California after about 25 years of operation as a symbol of cooperation between the top US and Japanese automakers.
The last Toyota Corolla passenger car came off the assembly line in yesterday morning at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc, a fifty-fifty joint venture better known as NUMMI, with workers and top officials witnessing the end of production.
A 57-year-old paint worker regretted the plant closure and said Toyota should have made efforts to maintain the plant.
Toyota had manufactured the Corolla sedan and the Tacoma pickup truck at the factory in recent years.
Corolla production will be shifted to other Toyota plants in Japan and Canada, while that of the pickup truck will be moved to a factory in Texas.
The Fremont, California-based plant was founded in 1984 at the height of the Japan-US auto trade friction to pursue rapid expansion into what had been the world's largest market.
NUMMI is expected to be liquidated, but there is no fixed plan on the use of the plant site.
Despite deep local resentment about the closure, Toyota stuck to its decision to pull out from NUMMI, saying that it would not be financially viable to maintain production after GM withdrew following its bankruptcy last summer.