TOKYO (Reuters) - The presidents of Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) said they have no immediate plans to curb production in Mexico, preferring to wait until after Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. President this month before deciding whether to make any changes.
Automakers in the U.S. have been slammed by Trump for building cars in lower-cost factories south of the border, which he said costs American jobs. Pressure to curb that production intensified this week after Ford Motor Co (F.N) scrapped plans to build a $1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico after Trump harshly criticized the investment.
“We will consider our option as we see what policies the incoming president adopts,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said on Thursday at an industry gathering in Tokyo, when asked whether his company was considering any changes to a production plant the automaker is building in Mexico.
“We produce cars in Mexico for markets including North America and Europe and we have no immediate plan to change this,” Honda’s president and chief executive officer, Takahiro Hachigo, said at the event to mark the New Year.
Trump has also said General Motors Co (GM.N) could become subject to tariffs on Mexico-made cars for the U.S. market, and that he would like to renegotiate terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement signed with Canada and Mexico.
Toyota, Honda and Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T), Japan’s top three automakers, have production facilities both in the United States and in Mexico, while Toyota and Honda also operate plants in Canada. Much of the vehicles produced in Mexico and Canada and exported to the United States - the single biggest market for Japanese automakers.
Toyota produces a total of around 100,000 pick-up trucks and truck beds each year at its plant in the state of Baja California, and plans to raise output to around 160,000 units by 2018. It is also building a plant in Guanajuato city which will have an annual capacity of 200,000 when it comes online in 2019.
Honda has two auto plants in Mexico, one in Celaya city and the other in Guadalajara city that together build around 260,000 cars and 100,000 motorcycles a year.
In the year ended March, Nissan produced around 800,000 vehicles at its three plants in Mexico, nearly half of which were sold in the United States.
Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christopher Cushing