Section 5. Production and Sales Systems Reinforced
Item 2. Construction of the Tahara Plant
Toyota decided to build the Tahara Plant in Tahara-cho (now Tahara City) in Atsumi-gun, Aichi Prefecture in June 1976. This site was selected for an assembly plant to achieve an annual production capacity of 3 million vehicles following an extensive search with a focus on the three Tokai prefectures. It was determined that a site under development by Aichi Prefecture in a Higashimikawa coastal industrial park was ideal, and several parcels were acquired starting in June 1974. The site is located 60 kilometers from the head office area, but it is expansive with approximately 3 million square meters and borders on the Mikawa Bay on the north and east sides.
The following basic policies for the planned construction were adopted in August 1976:
- 1.The large area of the site and its seaside location were to be used to create a modern plant for primarily export vehicles. Also, trial projects that would be difficult to implement at existing plants would be actively introduced.
- 2.The plant would support annual production of 3 million to 3.2 million vehicles or more. Initial monthly capacity from stamping to assembly would be 20,000 units, with monthly production to be expanded in the future to cover everything from raw blanks to vehicle assembly, with capacity at 40,000 units. Chemical products would also be produced.
- 3.An export base would be established in the site in order to support exports of 1.5 million units annually.
Based on these policies, the Tahara Plant Construction and Planning Liaison Committee was established in April 1977, and the construction committee was formed in October.
It was decided that assembly processes would have annual production capacity of 100,000 units and that flexible lines capable of producing small lots of numerous products would be created. The initial assembly vehicles were the four-wheel drive next-generation Hilux and the Stout—a commercial vehicle— which were assembled at the Honsha Plant. This was the first time that a completely-built-up vehicle assembly plant was located at a marked distance from the head office area, thus innovations in transport were implemented. New methods concerning energy savings and the work environment were introduced and attempts were made to create a worker-friendly plant including the establishment of production lines that take into account work posture.
The first phase of the construction of the assembly plant began in February 1978 with an investment of 13.5 billion yen. A completion ceremony and line-off ceremony for the Hilux were conducted in January 1979, and the Tahara Plant began operations as Toyota's tenth plant. Assembly of the Corolla for export began on the second line in January 1980.
The month after the first Hilux came off the production line at the Tahara Plant No. 1, Toyota decided to build Plant No. 2 at the large Tahara site. Toyota began investigating the feasibility of the Tahara Plant No. 2 as an integrated passenger car production plant following the Tsutsumi Plant, which went into operation in 1970.