Toyota purchased nearly $13 billion worth of parts and materials made in the U.S. during the 1999 fiscal year (ending March 31, 2000). The numbers were recently released as part of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association's annual announcement of procurement by the country's automotive companies and pertain to purchases made from both the parent company and its U.S. affiliates.

Of the $12.9 billion actual total, Toyota bought $11.2 billion worth for its North American plants. The remaining $1.71 billion was spent on exported parts to Japan.

Toyota's FY 1999 purchases were up 24 percent from one year ago, when the company's purchases totaled $10.3 billion. Toyota now buys from some 500 North American automotive suppliers of parts and materials. Since 1986, when the company opened its Georgetown, Ky. plant, Toyota's cumulative North American purchases have reached $70 billion.

"As our North American vehicle production increases, so do purchases from our suppliers here," said Teruyuki Minoura, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America. "It has been our strong commitment since establishing manufacturing operations in the U.S. that we buy locally, and as the numbers show, we have made very good progress."

Toyota hit record production levels last calendar year, building more than one million cars and trucks for the first time within a single year at its four plants in the U.S. and Canada.

The company is well on its way to having another record production year in 2000. Through the month of June, Toyota had produced nearly 576,000 cars and trucks at its facilities in Kentucky, California, Indiana and Ontario, Canada.

In all, seven models are currently made at the four plants, including Camry, Avalon, Sienna, Tacoma, Corolla, Solara and Tundra. This fall, a new full-size SUV, the Sequoia, will join the product line-up at the Indiana plant.

Toyota's overall employment in North America is more than 30,000, and with recently announced plans for expansions at its Indiana and Ontario plants in 2003, total investment will be $13 billion.