SAN ANTONIO -

Almost 10 years after its groundbreaking, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas is about to produce its one millionth truck that is expected to roll off the assembly line Sept. 17.

Mario Lozoya, its director of governmental relations and external affairs, said last year, 219,000 Tundra and Tacoma trucks were produced, surpassing the plant’s 200,000 vehicle capacity.

Lozoya said much of the credit goes to the company’s record number of 2,900 team members and its commitment to those workers.

He said TMMTx was forced to suspend production from August to November in 2008 during the economic downturn.

“We called this our 'K&D period,' 'kaizen and development,'” Lozoya said. “'Kaizen' is a Japanese term for continuous improvement.”

He said TMMTx retained all of its employees, then made the investment to further  their training.

“(We) also invested in the community,” Lozoya said. “During company time, team members were sent to different parts of the community for improvement and environmental projects.”

Lozoya said now its team members are working overtime to keep up with demand.

He also said, “TMMTx is currently studying different options in an effort to address the growing demand for our product.”

In addition to its employees, Lozoya said Toyota’s on-site suppliers with 2,800 workers also are part of the company’s record rate of production.

Lozoya said the millionth vehicle will be featured at the Toyota Truck Show on Sept. 21 at Traders Village, where the best “tricked out” Tundras and Tacomas will be awarded prizes.

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.