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To reach Trump, Toyota sounds out second-in-command

Vice President Pence well-versed in complexities of auto industry, execs say

TOYOKI NAKANISHI, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

NEW YORK -- Toyota Motor is looking at U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as a critical link within the unpredictable Donald Trump administration -- a strategy made evident by the Japanese automaker's recent announcement on plant expansion in Pence's home state of Indiana.

The $600 million upgrade, which will create around 400 jobs, has been part of a long-running discussion and has nothing to do with Trump, a Toyota official said after the plan was announced Tuesday, calling the move a simple business decision. General Motors and Ford Motor, both of the U.S., have said the same about plans to boost employment announced since the beginning of January.

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