Thursday rally in Fremont
  • United Auto Workers members are scheduled to rally on Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. at UAW Local 2244 headquarters, 45201 Fremont Blvd., across the street from the Nummi factory.

A report that Toyota will exit its NUMMI venture in March, coupled with production of the final Pontiac Vibe at the Fremont auto plant Monday night, underscored the urgency of the quest to rescue the factory.

Toyota Motor is considering a plan to cease production at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. factory in March 2010, according to a report in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, which didn't cite any sources.

"There has been no final decision," said Mike Michels, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Sales USA. "That March 2010 timetable is not attributed to anyone. All the stories that are coming out now are strictly speculative."

Despite the ominous new developments, union officials and state lawmakers  said they were determined to keep the factory open.


"Toyotas sold here should be made here," said Sergio Santos, president of UAW Local 2244, which represents union members who work at the NUMMI plant. The union is organizing a Thursday rally in support of the factory.

The final vehicle that NUMMI produced for GM, a Pontiac Vibe, rolled off the assembly line at the Fremont plant about 8 p.m. Monday, according to Santos. That Vibe was expected to be immediately followed by a Toyota Corolla, Santos said. "Right now we are being flooded with orders for Corollas because of the 'cash for clunkers' program," Santos said.

NUMMI employs about 4,700 people. NUMMI officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

California legislators hope a package of bills that would dangle financial incentives before Toyota will be passed by the Assembly and Senate and be ready for the governor's signature within two weeks. "We are moving full steam ahead," said state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro. "All lawmakers are aware of how important it is to move swiftly with this legislation. We are doing everything we can to get the bills moved swiftly."


Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont, said he also expects that his bill of financial incentives will get through the Legislature by the end of the month. Toyota has said it hopes to have a final decision about NUMMI by Aug. 31. For 25 years, the Fremont factory was a 50-50 joint venture between Toyota and General Motors. That venture began to unravel when GM emerged from bankruptcy and said it would exit the NUMMI operation.