Photo/IllutrationToyota's automobile plant in Texas (Provided by Toyota Motor Corp.)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Toyota Motor Corp. is scaling up its output of pickup trucks at its factory in Texas to meet high demand for large vehicles.

The company announced Sept. 18 that it plans to invest $391 million (42 billion yen) in the project by 2021.

The company's additional investment comes as trade talks between Japan and the United States are entering the final stage.

The factory produces Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks. Automated assembly lines will be renovated for the task.

Toyota group auto parts maker Aisin AW Co. announced the same day that it will build a factory in Texas to produce automatic transmissions.

The company will invest up to $400 million (43 billion yen) by 2023 and hire about 900 new employees for the plant.

"I'm grateful to Toyota and Aisin AW for bringing more jobs," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

In 2017, the leading automaker announced that it would invest $10 billion in the United States over five years by 2021. It increased the amount to about $13 billion in March.

The latest investment is part of the overall investment plan.

Many of Toyota's investment projects in the United States are related to large vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs.

The Kentucky factory began producing RAV4 hybrid vehicles. A new joint factory with Mazda Motor Corp. currently under construction in Alabama will produce a new type of SUV, not Corolla, as it had planned initially.

However, there are some hurdles to clear, as a rise in oil prices could turn consumers away from gas-guzzler vehicles.

(This article was written by Eitaro Takeyama and Rui Hosomi.)