Section 5. Production and Sales Systems Reinforced
Item 1. Front-Wheel Drive Vehicle Production Facilities Expanded
Toyota decided in June 1976 to construct the Shimoyama Plant No. 2 as a plant for producing newly developed engines, and construction was completed in September 1977.1 Production of the 1A-U engine (1,452 cc, 80 hp) used on the front-wheel drive Tercel and Corsa commenced in July of next year.
When the 1A-U engine was adopted for the new Corolla in March 1979, two-shift production was introduced for the first time on the automated engine production line, which had a monthly production capacity of 30,000 units. The Tercel engine with U.S. specifications was also added, and production reached a record high of 39,200 units in October. In March 1980, the No. 1 Plant, which until then had produced emissions control components, engine connecting rods, and other parts, began producing the 1G-EU engine (1,988 cc, 125 hp).
Construction of the No. 3 Plant on a newly-acquired site was completed in August 1981, and production of the 2A-U (1,295 cc, 74 hp), 3A-U (1,452 cc, 80 hp), and 4A-ELU (1,587 cc, 100 hp) engines began one after another. A green belt 20 meters to 70 meters wide was established on the outskirts of the Shimoyama Plant site, and azaleas and various other plants of diverse colors were planted.
In August 1976, Toyota decided to construct a new plant with the aim of achieving annual production capacity of 3 million vehicles. The site was a 330,000 square meter landfill area in a Kinuura Rinkai industrial park that Toyota acquired from Aichi Prefecture in March 1973. The plant, which is adjacent to the Kinuura Wharf at a distance of about 30 kilometers from the corporate head office (now Toyota Head Office), was Toyota's first seaside plant.
The decision to construct a new plant was made at this time because in the process of examining its production facilities with the aim of establishing annual production capacity of 3 million vehicles, Toyota anticipated that it would lack machine shop facilities and capacity in the near future. It determined that the establishment of ample production facilities for engines, transaxles, and other components and a smooth transition to new products were also necessary in order to promote the shift to front-wheel drive vehicles.
The Kinuura Plant Construction Committee was established in September 1976 and adopted the following basic plant construction policies:
- 1.Lay the foundations for annual production of 3 million units and help alleviate the overcrowding at existing plants.
- 2.Make components with high transport efficiency such as transaxles and differentials the main production items. Taking into consideration the electric power measures at the Honsha Plant and the overcrowding countermeasures at the Tsutsumi Plant, integrate production from raw blank formation (including forging and aluminum diecasting) to machining and assembly.
- 3.Start operations in May 1978 with an initial focus on producing 20,000 transaxles and differentials for mass production vehicles each month.
The layout of the new plant was determined by taking the following into consideration.
- 1.Two plant buildings were to be constructed: a raw blank shop and a machine shop.
- 2.The planned buildings and facilities were to be placed as far as possible on the north side to allow for a high degree of flexibility concerning the use of the south side in the future.
Right from the plant design stages, processes involving manual work were concentrated to eliminate "isolated islands,"2 innovations were adopted concerning standard operations and transport work, and working environment and transport aspects were carefully scrutinized. Construction of the planned buildings began in June 1977 and equipment installation was started in November. A line-off ceremony for the new front-wheel drive transaxles was conducted in May of the following year, and a plant completion ceremony was held that August.