Section 4. Plant Construction and Expansion
Item 3. Moving Up to Annual Production of 2 Million Units: Construction of Tsutsumi Plant and Expansion of Existing Plants
In October 1968, in the midst of Japan-U.S. automotive negotiations concerning the liberalization of automotive capital, Toyota achieved the 100,000 unit monthly production that it had long sought. In order to prepare for the liberalization of capital, Toyota worked to further develop its mass production systems. Annual production of 2 million units was one target for conducting business at the same levels as advanced European and U.S. automakers in a time of free competition. At that time, only two manufacturers-General Motors Corporation (now General Motors Company) and Ford Motor Company-had achieved annual production of 2 million units.
In order to establish production systems capable of annual production of 2 million units and to respond to the diversification of demand in passenger car markets, Toyota embarked on construction of the Tsutsumi Plant, its third dedicated passenger car plant following the Motomachi Plant and the Takaoka Plant.
Preparations for the Tsutsumi Plant site began in January 1967 following an invitation to establish a plant. Land was acquired from March 1969 until the following March, and the site area reached approximately 1 million square meters. The site was only about six kilometers from Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. headquarters and was roughly central to the Honsha, Motomachi, Kamigo, Takaoka, and Miyoshi plants.
Based on repeated investigations starting in 1968, the following concepts for the Tsutsumi Plant adopted:
- 1.A production site for the Celica and Carina.
- 2.A machining and heat processing production site equal to the Honsha Plant.
- 3.A transmission production site equal to the Kamigo Plant that also produces aluminum diecast components.
- 4.A passenger car production site that performs processes from stamping to total assembly equal to the Motomachi Plant and the Takaoka Plant.
- 5.A production plant for newly developed parts such as plastic components.
- 6.Stamping dies, diecast dies, plastic dies, and other dies will be manufactured to reinforce molding capabilities.
Until that time seat production had been outsourced, but production was brought in-house at the Tsutsumi Plant in order to improve seat design capabilities and streamline production. Also, the Tsutsumi Plant was to be given the ability to be an injection molding, fiber-reinforced plastic, and plastic processing plant to respond to the widespread adoption of plastic components with the objective of making cars lighter.
The Tsutsumi Plant Construction Committee was established in January 1969 with Managing Director Hideo Tsutsumi as its chairman, and the layout of the new plant was decided in February. The plant site was divided into the machining and casting zone on the east side and the stamping and assembly zone on the west side. The automotive body shop and the machining shop had an extensive area of 200,000 square meters and 100,000 square meters, respectively. Also, it was decided to make the assembly plant a two-story structure.
The site preparation work was completed in July 1969, and full-fledged plant construction began. The buildings were generally completed by the end of the year, and state-of-the-art facilities were installed in stages. Operations at the aluminum casting shop began in April 1970, followed by the start of operations in the machining shop in May, and production of suspension parts for the Celica and Carina commenced. Later, the stamping shop began operations in October followed by the body, painting, and assembly shops in November. A plant completion ceremony was conducted in December of that year at the assembly line.1
The assembly line in the body shop adopted a new gate-line method for the side member and underbody attachment processes to enable the production of two types of vehicles on the same line. This method allows the installation jigs for the side member parts and underbody parts to be removed and attached freely, allowing the production ratio of the Carina and Celica, which share a common underbody but have different styles, to be modified at will, supporting changes in production.
In order to establish a 2 million unit production system, Toyota also actively expanded its existing plants in parallel with the construction of the Tsutsumi Plant. New plant buildings were constructed nearly every year at the Kamigo Plant to accommodate development and application of new engines and transmissions. The second phase of construction of the Kamigo Plant No. 7 Machining Plant was completed in February 1970 and the No. 4 Casting Plant was constructed in March of that year to make up for insufficient production capacity of the K series engine and R series engine and in preparation for the start of production of the T series engine used on the Carina and Celica.