Toyota moves Tacoma production from Texas to Mexico, shifts Sequoia from Indiana to Texas

Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY

Toyota is reworking its manufacturing operations by shifting production of the Toyota Tacoma pickup from Texas to Mexico and replacing it with production of the Sequoia SUV.

Production of the Sequoia is being transferred to the San Antonio factory from Toyota's plant in Princeton, Indiana, which recently got a $700 million investment and 150 new workers to increase production of the redesigned Highlander SUV and Sienna minivan.

The moves won't affect any "direct jobs" at the plants in Indiana or Texas, Toyota said in a statement. Spokesman Victor Vanov said in an email that Toyota also does "not anticipate any reduction to temporary or contract positions," which are common in assembly plants.

Toyota has rolled out a series of American investments in recent years, totaling $7.1 billion since 2016. The company says it will invest another $5.9 billion here through 2021.

Despite the investments, shifting production of the Tacoma to Mexico could leave Toyota vulnerable to political heat.

The move comes as the auto industry remains under bipartisan scrutiny from Washington for its assembly plant decisions. In weeks following his election, then-President-elect Donald Trump criticized Toyota for its Mexican manufacturing, but he later switched to praising the company for investing in the U.S.

Other automakers have come under fire, too, including General Motors, which faced criticism from Democrats and Republicans for shutting down its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, due to slumping car sales.

For Toyota's part, it justified its latest manufacturing shakeup by saying that it is grouping similarly sized vehicles together. The Indiana plant will make mid-size SUVs and minivans, while the San Antonio plant will make full-size body-on-frame trucks and SUVs and the plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, will make mid-size trucks.

In addition to making the Tacoma in Guanajuato, the company will continue to make the Tacoma at its plant in Tijuana, Mexico.

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Toyota Tacoma pickup moving from Texas to Mexico; Sequoia to Indiana