Toyota plans help for US firms

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TOYOTA yesterday sought to defuse the growing trade dispute between Japan and the US over car imports by announcing plans to help American component suppliers win more work from its assembly plants in North America and Japan, writes Michael Harrison.

The company is to open a supplier-support centre in Kentucky, the home of its US transplant factory. It said the new facility would be dedicated to raising the productivity and quality standards of domestic component firms.

The move was timed to coincide with talks between the US and Japan over ways of giving the American car industry greater access to the Japanese market.

Toyota, which sells more than one million cars a year in North America, said that by 1994 it planned to be purchasing dollars 3.82bn worth of US parts and materials for its transplant operations.

By the same date, the company added, it would be importing a further pounds 1.46bn worth of US-manufactured components to Japan.