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Back in 1984, General Motors and Toyota teamed up to open a joint manufacturing facility on the site of an old GM car plant in Freemont, California. New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) was conceived to help Toyota gain a manufacturing foothold in North America, while allowing GM to learn from Toyota’s manufacturing processes (in an effort to achieve greater levels of quality – this was the ’80s remember).
The plant, which mainly produced the Chevy Nova, Geo Prizm, Toyota Corolla and Pontiac Vibe (above), was shut down in 2010 when Toyota moved production of Corollas in North America to it’s plant in Cambridge, Ontario.
Now, Toyota is apparently suing the remnants of the ‘old’ GM (known as Motors Liquidation Company) for breach of contract, claiming $73 million in damages, namely to cover research and development costs, before GM pulled out of NUMMI last year as part of it’s bankruptcy and re-structuring program.
Toyota spokesman Keisuke Kirimoto said that the lawsuit is “part of the process of winding down the NUMMI venture.” The closure of the NUMMI plant resulted in the loss of some 4700 jobs, though unlike some other facilities, the Freemont factory isn’t going to be turned into tract housing or a shopping center. Far from it actually.
Back in May, Toyota sold the land to Tesla Motors (as part of a larger electric vehicle partnership), which includes some 207 acres (about 55 percent) of the land at the site. Tesla says it plans to build its new Model S sedan at the facility, eventually ramping up production to around 20,000 vehicles a month, which will result in the creation of around 1000 jobs.
[Source: Automotive News]