Trump takes aim at Toyota over Mexico plans

01/05/17 01:37 PM EST

President-elect Donald Trump is directing his Twitter ire at Toyota for its decision to ramp up production in Mexico.
"Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax," Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon.

The Japanese company announced in 2015 that it would be building a new plant in Mexico for its Corolla sedan, although the automaker said at the time the facility would be located in the state of Guanajuato, not Baja.

It announced in September that it would increase production of pickup trucks at its plant in Mexico's Baja California state.

Trump's tweet comes just one hour after a Wall Street Journal story quoted Toyota's president, Akio Toyoda, as saying he hopes to have a good relationship with Trump.

The company previously said the new Corolla plant would cost $1 billion, produce 200,000 vehicles each year and provide jobs for 2,000 workers when it starts production in 2019.

The automaker announced a number of moves to bolster its footing in the U.S. along with the 2015 announcement, including investments in plants in Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and West Virginia.

Toyota defended its decision and investment in the U.S. in a statement to Reuters, calling itself a "part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for nearly 60 years."

"Production volume or employment in the U.S. will not decrease as a result of our new plant in Guanajuato, Mexico announced in April 2015," the statement said.

"With more than $21.9 billion direct investment in the U.S., 10 manufacturing facilities, 1,500 dealerships and 136,000 employees, Toyota looks forward to collaborating with the Trump Administration to serve in the best interests of consumers and the automotive industry."

Trump has regularly taken to social media to chide companies that choose to invest in other countries while selling goods within America. He regularly floats a 35 percent import tax for companies that move manufacturing out of the country and want to sell in American markets.

After he blasted Ford Motor Co. on Twitter this week, the company decided against building a plant in Mexico and instead said it would invest more in a Michigan plant.

Trump also targeted General Motors this week for "sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border." GM told CNN that it makes the U.S. model of the Cruz in an Ohio plant while the hatchback, a car sold largely internationally, is made in Mexico.

Trump's public criticism of specific companies have previously rattled stock prices; Toyota's shares were down about 0.4 percent immediately after his post.

- Updated at 2:43 p.m.