Toyota will not reverse plans to end production at its former joint venture plant with General Motors in Fremont, California, despite a suggestion that doing so might give the embattled carmaker a lift in a big market, a top US executive told lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

"It's not financially viable to do," Jim Lentz told the first congressional hearing in Washington on Toyota recalls.

Toyota is ending production at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc (NUMMI) plant where, for 25 years, it jointly produced vehicles with GM.

GM pulled out of the partnership last June as part of its bankruptcy reorganisation, prompting Toyota to follow suit.

"It was General Motors abandoning NUMMI that set this in play," Reuters quoted Lentz as sayin, adding that the facility as a stand-alone was a long way from Toyota's supplier network.

The plant is also Toyota's only unionised facility, its southern US plants are not, despite repeated efforts over the years by the key United Auto Workers (UAW) union to 'organise' some.

The UAW has also campaigned for Toyota to keep the Fremont plant open.

More than 4,000 manufacturing jobs are affected and California officials have said thousands of other jobs would be impacted indirectly.

Representative Jerry McNerney, a California Democrat, suggested to Lentz during the hearing that keeping the plant open might be good for the company.

"I'm thinking of your benefit as well as ours. If you work with us to keep that open it will be a real plus," McNerney said.

Lentz said Toyota did not take the closure lightly and would help affected workers through the transition.

Toyota builds the Corolla sedan and Tacoma pickup in California but is shifting production of those to its newer San Antonio, Texas truck plant, Alliston, Canada, where it already builds the Corolla, RAV-4 and Lexus RX SUV, and Japan. GM most recently built the Pontiac Vibe at the facility; it was once the source of Geo-brand sedans that shared architecture with previous-generation Corollas.

Toyota employs over 30,000 people at its 10 US plants.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more