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Reuters: Toyota ups RAV4 output target at Ontario plant
Tue Feb 7, 2006 12:20 PM EST

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T: Quote) said on Tuesday it will boost the annual production capacity of its RAV4 sport utility vehicle by 50 percent at its Woodstock, Ontario plant, which is under construction.

Japan-based Toyota, the most profitable car maker in the world, said it plans to produce 150,000 vehicles a year at the factory in southwestern Ontario, compared with its original estimate of 100,000. The total investment has jumped 15 percent to about C$1.1 billion ($956 million).

The facility, managed by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, was announced last June and construction began in October.

Production is scheduled to begin in 2008, the company said.

Toyota said employment at the facility will be boosted by about 700 workers to 2,000. News of more jobs is a positive development, especially given a nearby tire plant's recent decision to close a plant later this year and cut 1,100 jobs.

"This announcement is a vote of confidence by Toyota and the consumers, and demonstrates that auto manufacturing is alive and well in Canada," Ray Tanguay, TMMC's president, said in a statement. "It is not only good news for our team members, but also for Canada and our suppliers across North America."

Earlier, Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T: Quote) reported a 14 percent jump in its third-quarter profit on improved sales in the North American market.

Stiff competition from Asian brands such as Toyota has sent the core operations of General Motors Corp. (GM.N: Quote) and Ford Motor Co. (F.N: Quote) reeling under losses, forcing the top two U.S. carmakers to urge massive job cuts and plant closures.
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