Toyota will invest an additional $328 million in a facility in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato to adapt production processes for a new hybrid version of its Tacoma pickup vehicle.
“The new version of the ‘Mexican pickup’ will be hybrid electric, which means Guanajuato will now form part of the company’s electrification production strategy,” Toyota stated in a statement.
The funds will be used to adapt the production of the new Tacoma model for the North American market.
Since announcing the plant, Toyota has invested close to $1.2 billion in Guanajuato, the company said, adding that the factory supplies more than 2,500 employees.
To comply with more stringent emissions regulations intended to mitigate the deteriorating effects of climate change, automakers around the globe are transitioning production away from internal-combustion engines and toward more electric-powered vehicles.
The announcement followed a trip to Japan by the governor of Guanajuato, Diego Sinhueto.
Although Mexico, a major automobile manufacturing center, generates a large quantity of electric vehicles, many are exported to the United States because they are too expensive and impracticable for drivers in much of Mexico, which lacks a comprehensive network of charging stations.
There are approximately 1,100 charging stations in Mexico, the majority of which are located in significant cities, limiting long-distance EV travel. According to industry analysts, hybrid vehicles could be a stride forward until more investment is made in EVs.
The electric vehicle colossus announced in March that it would establish a “gigafactory” in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon in an effort to increase its global output.
Mexico, the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the Americas, pledged at the COP27 climate summit last year that 50% of its auto sales would be zero-emissions vehicles by 2030 and that it would increase its renewable energy capacity.