Section 1. Development of Diverse Vehicle Lineup and Expansion of Domestic Sales
Item 3. Expansion of Production Network and Establishment of Multi-kind, Small-lot Production
Production at Tahara Plant and construction of Teiho Plant
The number of vehicles produced in Japan by Toyota grew at a rapid speed, passing the 3 million mark in 1980, with 3.29 million, and increasing further to 3.66 million in 1985. Although voluntary restriction of passenger car exports to the U.S. were put in place from 1981, the company's exports gradually expanded, and sales in Japan also increased steadily due to the release of new models that captured market needs. In November 1981, Toyota sold its 20 millionth car in Japan.
Supporting this growth in production and sales was the construction of new plants and the expansion of existing facilities, spanning everything from vehicle assembly lines to the manufacture of engines and machine tools. At the same time, the establishment of a more-flexible production structure through the development of innovative new production technologies, allowed for better response to the production of new vehicle types and the rapid increase in vehicle redesigns.
From the latter half of the 1970s, preparation began for new construction and expansion of plant facilities to support an annual domestic production output of 3 million vehicles, and in January 1979 the Tahara Plant (in Tahara-cho, Atsumi-gun, Aichi Prefecture; now part of Tahara City) began operation, with an annual output of 240,000 vehicles. The Tahara Plant was the first vehicle assembly plant outside Toyota City, and in the same year it was decided to build a second plant with equivalent output capacity on the site.
With the expansion at the time in the number of models being produced, focus at the Tahara No. 2 Plant was placed on the ability to produce multiple models and the flexibility to adapt to fluctuations in production requirements. Specifically, numerous high output transfer presses were installed at the stamping plant, the welding plant was adapted to allow a mix of three model types to be worked on at once, and sophisticated automation was introduced, including 87 new welding robots. Operation commenced in February 1981 with the production of the new Soarer model, and in summer that year production of the redesigned Celica series began.
The Shimoyama Plant tasked with making engines added a second plant, which was completed in September 1977, and a third plant was built in August 1981. This established a duo of specialist engine plants, with the company's Kamigo Plant the other. These plants worked to respond to increased production of the newly developed engine models released from 1980 onward, including the LASRE series.
In 1986, the Teiho Plant was constructed in Teiho-cho, Toyota City, as a specialist facility for producing machine tools such as production machinery and molds, and started operations in February. The machines and dies making operations that were previously scattered across Toyota headquarters, the Kamigo Plant and the Myochi Plant, among others, were concentrated at Teiho to create a specialist machine tool plant, a facility that was one of only a few in the world at the time. The Teiho Plant, with the aim of improving the in-house production engineering technologies found in Toyota machinery and of providing a major boost to production capacity, was tasked with playing a key backup role in swiftly getting new product designs into mass production and in furthering the automation of plant facilities.