Now that GM has revealed it will not transfer its partnership with Toyota at the NUMMI plant in California to its reincarnated self after bankruptcy, the rumor mill is in high gear regarding the plant's future.
Bloomberg is reporting several rumors today, with the most plausible being the possibility that Toyota will build the Prius at the NUMMI plant. Toyota has been looking for a location to begin production of the Prius within the U.S., anticipating explosive growth in the hybrid segment, but the economic recession has caused the Japanese giant to rethink its plans.
While production of the Prius is still officially slated to go to a factory it is building in Blue Springs, Mississippi, that project was put on indefinite hold earlier this year. If sales of the Prius begin to pick up, it may make more sense for Toyota to retool the existing NUMMI plant to make the Prius instead. Toyota spokesmen have denied this theory as recently as last month.
The least plausible rumor coming from Bloomberg: Toyota may allow GM to build the Prius at NUMMI as well, rebranded under one of GM's divisions. Citing two unidentified people "familiar with the plan," Bloomberg says Fritz Henderson and Akio Toyoda, the CEOs of the two automakers, will meet in Michigan this August to discuss the plan.
We highly doubt that's the case. GM's latest announcement didn't suggest it was looking for a replacement product to build at NUMMI, but rather the venture wouldn't be a part of the "New GM." Don't expect any GM-badged product to roll off the assembly line in Fremont, California, anytime soon.
On a normal day, we would dismiss all of these rumors as sensational, but in today's drastically changing automotive landscape, it might be better just to take them with a grain of salt...