© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Toyota mulls $500M investment in San Antonio plant as developers resist 20,000 acre zoning plan

An aerial view of Toyota's truck plant in San Antonio in 2023.
Jordan Vonderhaar
An aerial view of Toyota's truck plant in San Antonio in 2023.

The San Antonio Zoning Commission on Wednesday delayed a vote on whether to make zoning changes to 20,000 acres surrounding the Toyota plant on the city's South Side.

The decision came a day after Bexar County commissioners gave unanimous approval to authorize staff to negotiate with Toyota over a major expansion of the facility, which builds the Tundra pickup and the Sequoia SUV.

The commission heard from landowners and developers, who said the plan to create a "buffer zone" for Toyota would stop them from building in a high-demand area.

“Why don’t they focus on building great cars and stop hindering our developments?" asked Fermin Rajunov, one of the developers. "Toyota is driving a profit at the cost of landowners and developers. The issue transcends economic growth. It is about ensuring that everyone, regardless of their economic status, has the same opportunities.”

A spokesperson for Toyota said the company had no comment and that zoning decisions are solely the responsibility of the City of San Antonio.

The county commissioners' approval greenlit the process to negotiate a half-a-billion-dollar expansion would create more than 400 jobs.

The expansion could encompass more than 500,000 square feet of new space, and the base wage of the new jobs would be $20.54 an hour, with an average salary of about $68,000.

The county’s package reportedly includes a 10-year, 100% tax abatement worth $14.7 million.

Reuters previously reported that the automaker's North America arm sought tax relief totaling $531.7 million in investments at the facility.

Major automakers are now refocusing their efforts and investments on hybrid and gasoline-powered vehicles with better profit margins, after slowing demand for electric vehicles prompted them to cut financial commitments towards such models.

"We are constantly evaluating our competitiveness and making decisions to support the potential for continued investments across our North American operations," Toyota said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Toyota did not provide additional details on the investment.

The San Antonio Express-News first reported on the investment.

The Japanese automaker has invested $4.2 billion in the San Antonio plant since 2003 and employs more than 3,700 workers at the facility, which began production in 2006.

Reuters contributed to this report.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.