Toyota pullout could wipe out thousands of California jobs

A Japanese news agency reported Thursday that Toyota Motor Corp. plans to stop making vehicles in Fremont, a move that could wipe out more than 1,000 supplier jobs in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Toyota is close to pulling out of New United Motors Manufacturing Inc., a joint venture it set up with General Motors in 1984, Kyodo News reported.

A Toyota spokesman confirmed the report to The Associated Press.

GM earlier announced that it will withdraw from the plant as of next month as part of its post-bankruptcy restructuring.

The plant employs about 4,600 people, producing Corolla sedans, Tacoma pickups and Pontiac Vibe station wagons.

Between 200 and 300 of the NUMMI workers commute from Stanislaus County, said Bill Bassitt, chief executive officer of the county Economic Development and Workforce Alliance.

"It's just sad to see, but not unexpected at all," said Bassitt, noting the plant's higher wages and other costs compared with Toyota plants elsewhere.

About 1,150 other people work in north valley plants that supply parts to NUMMI, mostly in San Joaquin County.

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