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Toyota shares drop after targeted by Trump over Mexico manufacturing

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Shares of Toyota Motor Corp fell more than 3 per cent on Friday after US President-elect Donald Trump threatened to impose heavy taxes on the automaker if it builds its Corolla cars for the US market at a plant in Mexico.

[TOKYO] Shares of Toyota Motor Corp fell more than 3 per cent on Friday after US President-elect Donald Trump threatened to impose heavy taxes on the automaker if it builds its Corolla cars for the US market at a plant in Mexico.

Toyota dropped as much as 3.1 per cent to 6,830 yen in early trade before paring losses, after Mr Trump's tweet on Thursday - "Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for US NO WAY! Build plant in US or pay big border tax."

The tweet was Mr Trump's first broadside against a foreign automaker. He has slammed automakers in the United States for building cars in lower-cost factories south of the border, which he said costs American jobs.

This week Ford Motor Co scrapped plans to build a US$1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico after Mr Trump criticised the investment.

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Mr Trump's tweet confused Toyota's existing Baja plant with the planned US$1 billion plant in Guanajuato, where construction got under way in November.

Baja produces around 100,000 pickup trucks and truck beds annually, including the Tacoma pick-up truck. In September, Toyota said it would increase output of pick-up trucks by more than 60,000 units annually.

The Guanajuato plant will build Corollas and have an annual capacity of 200,000 when it comes online in 2019, shifting production of the small car from Canada.

Other Japanese automakers too have plants in Mexico. Nissan Motor Co has two facilities, producing 830,000 units in the year to March.

Honda Motor Co operates two assembly and engine plants in Mexico with a total annual capacity of 263,000 vehicles. It also operates a transmission plant with an annual capacity of 350,000 units.

Other Japanese carmakers also fell in early trade, with a stronger yen dragging on prices too. Honda fell more than 2 per cent before paring losses, while Nissan also shed 2 per cent, underperforming the broad Topix index.

REUTERS

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