Although it has this week denied committing to build an assembly plant, Toyota has already begun preparations for the launch of Mexican sales on January 1, 2004.

According to the Mexico City daily Reforma, Toyota Motor Corporation has reached an agreement with state-run technical colleges in the country to run special training courses for car technicians.

Reforma says that, under the agreement, Toyota will provide specialised training materials and expertise while the technical schools supply the classrooms, equipment and teachers.

Toyota created a Mexican subsidiary earlier this year and announced it would begin exporting vehicles from plants in the United States and Europe from January 1, 2004, when Mexico is scheduled to abolish import tariffs on vehicles from the United States and Canada, under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The company is currently conducting market research to determine which models it will sell in Mexico and the size of its dealership network, Reforma said.

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