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Toyota to shut Japan plant to fuel technology shift

Heavy spending on self-driving and electric vehicles prompts consolidation

The Shizuoka Prefecture plant will cease production as early as fiscal 2020. (Photo by Tomoyoshi Oshikiri)

NAGOYA -- Toyota Motor will close a car assembly plant in Japan to consolidate production as it steers more resources toward developing electric vehicles and automated driving technology.

The subsidiary plant in the Shizuoka Prefecture city of Susono will cease production as early as fiscal 2020, marking the Toyota group's first reshuffle of passenger vehicle assembly operations in 11 years.

The plant produces an estimated 50,000 vehicles a year, including the Porte and Spade compacts, the JPN Taxi, and the Century luxury sedan.

Production of the Porte and others will move to Miyagi and Iwate prefectures in the northeast. The Century may go to a facility in Toyota's home prefecture of Aichi.

The Shizuoka plant's roughly 1,100 workers will be reassigned to the northeastern Japan facilities in phases, starting this fall. A nearby development center in Shizuoka will continue operations.

Toyota will look for new ways to utilize the Shizuoka site within the group.

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