Ever since General Motors announced plans to pull out of the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California, its partner in that venture -- Toyota -- has been evaluating what to do with its own operations there. There's been much speculation as to whether Toyota would continue production on a limited basis, find a new partner, or sell its stake in the plant entirely.
It appears the matter has now been decided: according to Japan's Asahi Shimbun, Toyota will end operations at NUMMI by the March 2010 (although the company itself says no official decision has been reached). Assuming that information is accurate, Toyota will need to shift production of the two models it manufactures there -- the Tacoma pickup and the Corolla sedan -- to other factories. The Tacoma will likely move to San Antonio Texas, with Corolla production split between Ontario, Canada and Japan.
To industry analysts, the shutdown is a smart move for Toyota, which is only operating NUMMI at half-capacity and is losing money in the process. To the financially strapped state of California, whose elected officials -- including Governor Schwarzenegger -- have lobbied hard to keep NUMMI and its 4,500 jobs alive, the news isn't nearly as good.
UPDATE: Toyota confirmed this report earlier today.
[AutoNews, sub req'd]