By Shotaro Tani, Nikkei staff writer
TOKYO — Toyota Motor’s president Akio Toyoda is “thankful and encouraged” that the new U.S. president Donald Trump has Mike Pence as his vice president, he said on Monday.
Speaking to the press after attending the launch of a new model in Gifu, Central Japan, Toyoda said that Pence was someone who “understands what we do, and listens to us.” Toyoda added that the vice president “understands that Toyota is a company loved in the region [it operates in], and I am thankful and encouraged [for Pence’s presence].”
Mike Pence is a former governor of Indiana, where Toyota has a factory, and Toyoda held a meeting with the new vice president prior to his inauguration.
With regard to the Trump administration, which formerly took over on Jan. 20, Toyoda said: “A car maker or an administration alone cannot make the region happy. We both need to cooperate in the areas in which we are good at.”
The Japanese automaker announced early in January that it will invest $10 billion in the U.S. over five years to produce new models and boost productivity, following Trump’s public criticism on Twitter before his inauguration over the company’s plans to start up a $1 billion Mexican plant in 2019.
“Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax,” Trump tweeted at the beginning of January.