By Maki Shiraki and Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein
Toyota Motor is finalizing plans for its first passenger car assembly plant in Mexico that could be approved by its board as early as next month, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
The plant would make the popular Corolla compact sedan and begin production in 2019. Based on recent investments by rivals, including Volkswagen, a new assembly plant would represent an investment of over $1 billion for Toyota.
Toyota is the last mass-market automaker without a major production hub in Mexico, which has lured car makers and suppliers through its low labor costs and tariff-free access to the United States, Toyota’s largest single market. The Japanese firm has a plant in Mexico’s Baja California that produces the Tacoma pickup truck, but it has no passenger car plant.