Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) has announced a $27 million spend at its Long Beach, California, plant to increase “production capabilities”.

Founded in 1972, Toyota Auto Body Company (TABC), is Toyota’s oldest plant in North America, established originally to produce load beds for small pickup trucks imported from Japan via the nearby port.

Nowadays it stamps and welds parts for North America built Tacoma trucks and produces obsolete model service parts for multiple North American-produced Toyota models.

“Toyota’s roots in California run deep,” said Chris Reynolds, EVP, corporate resources, TMNA [Toyota established its US operations in California in the late 1950s and was based at Torrance until moving to Plano, Texas some years ago].

“This investment demonstrates our continued commitment to doing business in the Golden State, investing in our operations across the US and building where we sell.”

The new investment will equip TABC with TMNA’s first coil-fed laser blanking line, expand blanking capability to include steel and aluminium on the same line and increase capacity to cut 5.6 million blanks annually.

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By GlobalData

“These added capabilities will enable TABC to better support Tacoma production at TMNA facilities in Baja, California, and Guanajuato, Mexico,” the automaker said in a statement.

“Today’s investment reflects our team’s pledge to produce high-quality products for Toyota vehicles assembled in North America,” said TABC president Jim Zehmer. “We look forward to continuing our critical role in Toyota’s continued growth.”

In addition to the new technology and expanded capabilities, the investment will also support the move of 25 TABC temporary workers to permanent positions with Toyota.

TABC employs 350 people and Toyota has invested $485 million there to date.