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Kitchener-Waterloo Record

Toyota Tops In Puerto Rico; Islanders Snapped Up 6 Per Cent Of Cambridge Plant's 2002 Output


March 22, 2003
Copyright © 2003
Kitchener-Waterloo Record. All rights reserved. 

Puerto Ricans love the cars Toyota builds in Cambridge.

More than 12,000 cars Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada assembled last year ended up in Puerto Rico. That represents almost six per cent of the Fountain Street plant's output.

A lot of cars were shipped to the Caribbean island because Toyota has a strong dealer network there, according to Xavier Dominicis, media relations manager at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., the Toyota company that actually exported the vehicles.

Toyota de Puerto Rico had record sales last year, selling more than 28,000 vehicles. That included 10,251 Corollas and 1,581 Matrixes, models it got from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada.

The Cambridge plant produced 95,028 Corollas last year, as well as 80,579 Matrixes and 42,404 Solaras.

While a lot of Cambridge-built cars are cruising the streets of Puerto Rico, most of the vehicles assembled here end up in the United States.

Information published in a newsletter for the Cambridge plant's 3,500 employees shows that 70 per cent of the 218,011 cars the Cambridge plant produced last year went to the U.S.

Twenty-three per cent, or 49,701, stayed in Canada.

A large portion of the remaining 4,248 vehicles went to Mexico.

The Corolla, a vehicle the plant has built since it opened in 1988, stayed in Canada and went to the U.S. in equal numbers. Fourteen per cent went to destinations outside North America.

Greig Mordue, manager of Toyota's corporate planning office, said the southbound Corollas primarily went to dealers in the eastern U.S. because the NUMMI plant in California, a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors, makes Corollas for the western half of the U.S.

Virtually all of the Solaras were exported to the U.S. The Matrix, a new model Toyota introduced last year, wasn't far behind, with 86 per cent heading south of the border.

The Cambridge plant is the only Toyota facility that makes the Matrix.

Last year was the swan song for the Cambridge-built Solara.

The last Solara, a dark blue coupe, rolled off the assembly line on Dec. 20.

Production moved to Georgetown, Ky., to give the Cambridge plant room to make the Lexus 330. Production of the sport utility vehicle is scheduled to begin in September.

Also disclosed in the newsletter was this bit of trivia: silver metallic was the colour of choice last year.

The No. 1 colour for all three models, it was applied to 30.4 per cent of the cars that rolled out of the plant.

Next in popularity were dark blue (11.2%), red (10.9%) and black (8.8%).

Air conditioning was the most popular option ordered by dealers.

It was installed in 99 per cent of the Corollas and Matrixes. (Air conditioning is a standard feature in the Solara.)

Cruise control and automatic transmissions were also popular options.

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