NUMMI, originally opened as a General Motors plant in 1962, became a 50:50 joint venture operation with Toyota in 1984. The plant produced GM and Toyota vehicles side-by-side for 24 of its 25 years, but was forced to announce its closure when GM declared bankruptcy in 2009.
The final car to roll down the production line, a red Toyota Corolla, will soon become a museum piece in one of Toyota's Japanese museums in Nagakute, just outside Nagoya. NUMMI employees escorted the vehicle the length of the production line in a closing tribute to the plant.
"That last Corolla was bright red, the same as the last Tacoma truck," said Barney Santos, who inspected the final vehicle."It’s a beautiful car. No defects."
The closure of the plant will see 3700 employees receive a severance payout as new plans are made to utilise the 380-acre facility. At its prime, NUMMI employed over 4700 staff. A further 2000 employees a nearby parts supply factories also face unemployment.
Last month, start-up EV manufacturer Aurica Motors announced it was interested in keeping the plant open as it drafted plans for the production of its 'E-Car' all-electric sedan.
Aurica said it hoped to use the manufacturing facility while retaining as many of its current staff as possible and that it could begin retraining staff as early as this month. At this stage, no further announcements have been made on the decision.
Some 200 NUMMI employees will this week dismantle the production line and remove tooling for redistribution to other Toyota plants across the US.