Toyota recently announced a massive $1.33 billion investment for Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK). The motion marks the highest investment of any automaker in Kentucky and the second-largest in state history. TMMK will undergo renovations in order to incorporate Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) into future models, including the 2018 Camry.
The investment comes as part of a larger initiative for the automaker.
“This $1.33 billion investment is part of Toyota’s plan to invest $10 billion dollars in the U.S. over the next five years, on top of the nearly $22 billion Toyota has invested in the U.S. over the past 60 years,” said Jim Lentz, Chief Executive Officer, Toyota Motor North America.
TNGA is Toyota’s new vision for designing, engineering, and manufacturing vehicles. This allows for a shorter development cycle and a more streamlined process when it comes to introducing vehicle improvements. It also creates a more versatile production environment, allowing Toyota Kentucky to build vehicles that better match consumer demands. TNGA builds upon Toyota’s desire for a well balanced automobile, one that combines safety with energetic driving dynamics.
“It will improve performance of all models, including increased fuel efficiency, more responsive handling, and a more stable, comfortable feel while driving,” Lentz said.
TMMK is the first vehicle assembly facility in North America to incorporate the new architecture.
TMMK will undergo extensive renovations to modernize the facility for Toyota’s future vehicles. Updates to line equipment are planned along with a brand new paint shop.
“This major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky,” said Wil James, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.
In 2013, $530 million was invested into Toyota Kentucky to support Lexus manufacturing. Production of the Lexus ES 350 began two years later, marking the first time a Lexus vehicle was made in the United States. Political and world leaders have praised Toyota’s continued investment initiatives.
“Toyota’s decision to invest $1.3 billion in their Kentucky plant is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration and echoes the recent National Association of Manufacturers’ 2017 Outlook Survey showing that 93% of manufacturers are now optimistic, which is an increase of 37% from just a few months ago,” said President Donald J. Trump.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) echoed similar sentiments.
“For more than 30 years, Toyota has been committed to the Commonwealth, and today’s investment is further proof that the company maintains its pledge to grow our economy and solidify Kentucky as a world-class automotive state,” he said.
A recent study by the Center for Automotive Research shows Toyota Kentucky supports nearly 30,000 jobs across the state (direct, indirect, and spin-off). TMMK employees live in 80 Kentucky counties while Toyota has more than 100 suppliers located across the Commonwealth. Toyota Kentucky is the automaker’s largest plant in the world, employing over 8,000, an all time high.
“Toyota is a global icon and this $1.33 billion investment is further proof of their commitment to producing American-made cars that are among the finest quality found anywhere in the world,” said Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. “It also serves as a testament to the hard work and dedication of the plant’s current employees, and reaffirms Toyota’s confidence in the advantages of manufacturing in Kentucky.”
Last year, TMMK manufactured nearly a quarter of the total number of Toyota vehicles produced in North America, or about 500,000. In total, the plant has produced more than one-third – 11 million – of all Toyota vehicles manufactured in North America since 1986.
“We are grateful that this significant investment further validates the fact that Kentucky is the engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence in America,” Gov. Bevin added.
Toyota remains active in Scott County, where TMMK is located. The automaker is committing $2 million over the next 10 years to Scott County United for economic development initiatives. In addition, Lanes Run Business Park is receiving $1 million for future land purchases.
“I congratulate Toyota on this new initiative, and look forward to continuing my efforts in Congress to promote business-friendly policies to ensure Kentucky continues to reap the benefits of economic growth and expansion as a result of these types of investments,” said Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
Toyota partners with community, civic, academic, and governmental organizations to address a number of challenges facing society today, including the future of mobility and transportation.
“This is the largest investment in our plant’s history and it speaks directly to the quality of our people and our products, as well as the partnerships we’ve forged in the local community and across the state,” James said.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.