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FREMONT, CA-California officials have offered Toyota Motor Corp. a financial aid package in an effort to preserve the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant, a five-million-square-foot facility on 380 acres that directly employs approximately 5,000 people and supports an additional 50,000 workers employed by thousands of parts suppliers nationwide. The future of the only auto manufacturing plant on the West Coast has been in doubt since June, when General Motors ended the 25-year-old partnership with Toyota that utilized the plant, which can pump out 420,000 vehicles annually.

Prior to the dissolution of the GM partnership, the plant produced three vehicles: Toyota Corolla, Toyota Tacoma and Pontiac Vibe. In 2008, approximately 80% of the cars produced at the plant last year carried the Toyota brand. Vehicle orders from Toyota will reportedly keep the plant busy at least through October regardless of whether Toyota utilizes the facility on long-term basis.

State, county and local officials confirmed the letter and its contents, which was sent to Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda and the San Francisco Chronicle, but could not produce a copy for GlobeSt.com prior to publication. The federal, state and local incentives include several tax breaks, interest-free loans and other help, such as the ability to buy cheaper electricity.

Fremont’s director of community and economic development Daren Fields tells GlobeSt.com that a shuttering of the plant would affect as many as 25,000 Californian’s—approximately 5,000 direct employees plus 15,000- to 20,000 people employed by the 1,000 or so California-based suppliers. Adding complexity to the situation are the ongoing contract renewal negotiations between Nummi and the United Auto Workers, which represents most of the workers.

Part of the package involves the Legislature acting on a bill to designate Nummi an enterprise zone, which would allow the plant to carry forward operating losses to offset income taxes on future profits for up to 15 years and waive sales taxes on $20 million of plant machinery upgrades annually. The package also includes Pacific Gas & Electric establishing a special utility rate for Nummi, approximately $20 million in interest-free loans for plant upgrades, and a commitment to spend millions more improving the facility’s access to highways and rail lines.

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