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D-I-V-O-R-C-E: GM Calls it Quits with Toyota, NUMMI

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2009 Pontiac Vibe w/1SA

2009 Pontiac Vibe w/1SA

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General Motors is washing its hands of the joint venture it operates with Toyota in California--the NUMMI plant in Fremont, Calif., where the companies teamed to build the Pontiac Vibe, and where Toyota builds the Tacoma pickup and Corolla sedan.

We've been telling you for months that GM probably has more money to make selling off its NUMMI factory in the San Francisco area, than it does in going ahead with another joint-venture with Toyota. That sentiment probably lingers at GM today, as the company confirmed it will put the NUMMI plant into the "old GM" and ostensibly, will sell it off as it sells other pieces of its empire.

That's once the plant stops building the 2009 Pontiac Vibe and once Toyota can find another place to build the Tacoma pickup and Corolla sedan, which are built in the plant. GM had owned the plant before it signed its joint venture with Toyota, but the ownership structure today, and the ownership of the real estate itself, isn't clear (we're awaiting word from GM PR).

A sale of the plant could mean a long wind-out as Toyota shuffles production around the U.S. A likely scenario could see the Tacoma and Corolla moving to Toyota's unoccupied plant in northeastern Mississippi, which had been built for the Highlander SUV, then was to build the 2010 Toyota Prius, but now sits mothballed, with the building enclosed but no tooling installed.

In a statement, GM said it's not ruling out future cooperation. "We have enjoyed a very positive and beneficial partnership with Toyota for the past 25 years, and we remain open to future opportunities of mutual interest,” the company said in a release.

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Comments (4)
  1. California is a high labor cost market--there is no rational reason for Toyota to stay. Looks like they're one of the last big manufacturers to leave the state--can you blame them? California has become a ridiculous place to do business.
     
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  2. GM is foolish. The Pontiac Vibe and the NUMMI plant should be touted by GM. That vehicle is one of the only GM products out of the boatload that they make and that you can count on one hand which had a much better than average reliablity rating and was a recommended used car by Consumers Reports. So in GM's backwards thinking they kill the car and get rid of the plant. Those workers there should be rewarded. This is why I would never consider buying a GM product ever again. I don't care what they make from here on out. Every Honda, Toyota, and VW made has better quality and/or features than any GM product made. That is a fact. For instance, a $15,000 VW Golf/Rabbit has passenger assist grips all around, a locking fuel filler door, three rear seat headrests, and air conditioned glove box and console bin. Try to find those same features on a $20,000 plus GM Malibu, G6, Aura, or even a $30,000 CTS! With decisions like this the Obama Administation should stop thowing good money after bad. This clueless bunch before long will have GM permanently shuttered. Patriotism can only take you so far, especially when it has been taken for granted!
     
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  3. Sadly, I agree with R2Dad that Kalifornia is slipping into the Pacific. The Corolla and Matrix will live on elsewhere. Toyota dealers should get busy and tell owners of the Vibe, that they will be welcome there.
     
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  4. It's a shame this plant apparently will fade into the sunset. Why can't some new[to the US] automotive concern utilize the site and built-in labor force to assemble product Surely the costs of setting from the ground up vs. a "turnkey" operation would make financial sense to car companies in India[Mahindra] and China, or Europe[Fiat, PSA].
     
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