Semi trucks and a Tundra pulls into the Toyota Auto Body Company in North Long Beach Thursday, March 17, 2022. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

For 50 years the Toyota Auto Body Company has produced car and truck parts on a 28-acre site in North Long Beach. On Tuesday, Toyota Motor North America announced a $27 million investment in the facility to expand its capabilities.

The funding will equip the Long Beach facility with the company’s first coil-fed laser blanking line, which will expand blanking capability to include steel and aluminum on the same line. In the auto industry, blanks are the sheets of metal “stamped” into various parts that make up a vehicle, such as doors, roofs, fenders and other components.

“[This] investment reflects our team’s pledge to produce high-quality products for Toyota vehicles assembled in North America,” TABC President Jim Zehmer stated. “We look forward to continuing our critical role in Toyota’s continued growth.”

With the new equipment, the Long Beach facility will have the capacity to cut 5.6 million blanks every year, according to the company. TABC is the primary parts supplier for Tacoma stampings and sub-assembly components such as seats and safety systems.

Parts produced in Long Beach are sent to the company’s Baja California and Guanajuato, Mexico facilities to support Tacoma truck production.

In addition to new technology and expanded production, the investment will allow 25 variable employees to transition to permanent positions with Toyota, the company stated.

Founded in 1972, the Long Beach plant is Toyota’s oldest in North America and represents a $485 million investment in Long Beach, according to the announcement. Toyota now has 10 U.S.-based plants with more than 27,000 employees.

The 600,000-square-foot facility employs 350 people, which is not expected to change with the new investment, the company said in an email.

“Toyota’s roots in California run deep,” Chris Reynolds, executive vice president corporate resources TMNA said in the announcement. “This investment demonstrates our continued commitment to doing business in the Golden State, investing in our operations across the United States and building where we sell.”

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Business Journal.