Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> will decide by the end of this month whether to pull out of a California plant it has operated with General Motors since 1984, a top executive said on Friday.
The fate of the Fremont plant, commonly known by its acronym NUMMI, for New United Motor Manufacturing Inc, has become a politically charged issue in California, with lawmakers and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appealing to Japan's top automaker to save the 24-year-old plant and its 4,500 jobs.
GM cut its ties with the 50-50 plant in June when it opted to leave its share of the joint venture with Motors Liquidation Co , the entity that has taken over management of GM's assets left in bankruptcy.
We'd like to reach some kind of decision by the end of August, a senior Toyota executive said on condition of anonymity. If Toyota decides to pull out, it would be up to NUMMI to decide how to proceed, including whether and how to liquidate the factory, the executive added.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda said in Michigan this week that he hoped to make a decision soon on whether to shutter the factory, which he had managed early in his career.
NUMMI is Toyota's only factory represented by the United Auto Workers union.
(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim)