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Toyota Sues GM for $360M in Damages Over Closed Plant



Toyota Motor Corporation said Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit with a US court for damages against General Motors' bankruptcy estate over the closure of their joint manufacturing plant in California.

The Japanese firm claims GM's Motors Liquidation Company (MLC) should pay $73 million for breach of contract over the closure of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant this year, said Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco.

GM pulled out of the venture last year as it restructured under government-backed bankruptcy protection. Toyota closed the plant earlier this year after reaching a deal with the plant's 4,500 unionized workers.

"We've been discussing how to pay costs of winding down NUMMI for more than a year, but as the US court recommended us to file a lawsuit, we filed the suit on November 24," said Nolasco.

Toyota sold the factory to Tesla Motors in May as the Japanese automaker bought a $50 million stake in the US electric vehicle maker.

Separately, NUMMI has also filed a suit against MLC, seeking about $360 million in damages stemming from the dissolution of the joint venture, Nolasco said.

MLC, responsible for the discarded assets of the former auto giant, chose "to end its active participation in NUMMI," which "breached MLC's commitments to NUMMI and sounded its death knell," the statement said.

Toyota eclipsed the former GM as the world's top automaker in 2008.

Amid skyrocketing debt and plummeting sales, GM was forced into bankruptcy protection in June 2009, as it got a 50-billion-dollar government bailout.

After government backed restructuring GM, the largest US automaker, recently launched a massive $23 billion share offering in a dramatic turnaround for the embattled company.

The IPO lowered the government stake in the company below 50 percent and recouped $11.7 billion for US taxpayers.