Los-Angeles-based Toyota Motor Sales USA on Thursday denied Japanese reports that it had made a formal commitment to build an assembly plant in Mexico.

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However, spokesman Mike Michaels told Automotive News that Toyota was still exploring the option.
"Sure we're considering it," he said.

"But traditionally Toyota sets up sales and marketing first, then gauges the potential to see whether building a plant is merited. We haven't even started sales there."

News reports from Tokyo this week quoted Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda as saying that Toyota Chairman Hiroshi Okuda had made the commitment. Castaneda was accompanying Mexico's president Vincente Fox on a state visit to Japan.

Toyota has previously confirmed it would start selling vehicles in Mexico by January 1st, 2004. Mexico will lower tariffs on vehicles imported from the United States and Japan on that date.

Toyota is expected to build most of the models it sells in Mexico in its U.S. plants.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

The world's car manufacturers: A financial and operating review

The automotive industry in Latin America: Mexico, Brazil and Argentina Forecasts to 2005

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