GEORGETOWN, Ky. – Toyota says it will invest $1.33 billion in its Georgetown plant to increase manufacturing capability and keep it cutting edge, company and commonwealth leaders announced Monday.
While Toyota officials don’t expect the investment to add jobs at what is already the company’s largest facility worldwide, it is designed to enhance technology, efficiency and productivity in a new age of car building, officials said.
The Toyota plant, which builds the Camry - America's best-selling car - has already transformed the Kentucky economy from tobacco to autos and parts and this will only deepen its impact, according to Secretary Terry Gill of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.
"The ripple effects will add to Toyota's three decades of transformative impact on our communities and for our residents across the Commonwealth," Gill said. "Additionally, this strengthens Kentucky’s status as a top state for auto manufacturing."
Called the Reborn project, the new investment will prepare Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. (TMMK) for a new company-wide approach to the design and manufacturing of vehicles called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the company said. The Georgetown plant will be the first North American facility to use TNGA, starting with the 2018 Camry.
Besides streamlining production processes, TNGA is designed to improve parts handling, logistics, vehicle safety, quality, efficiency and competitiveness.
Over the next few years, the Georgetown plant will replace or refurbish equipment and add new technology in multiple manufacturing areas, including stamping, body weld, paint, plastics, assembly and powertrain, the company said. A new paint shop will be constructed and fitted with new equipment and technology.
“This investment 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,” said TMMK president Wil James. “It will allow us to create a more flexible production environment, which will position our plant to compete globally for new models, build ever-better cars for our customers now, and enable us to respond quicker and more capably to market demands down the road.”
“This investment is absolute proof the Kentucky Toyota plant is not only a leader in manufacturing under the Toyota umbrella, but throughout the world,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “It directly points to the hard work and dedication of the plant’s employees, as well as Toyota’s commitment to our Commonwealth. This project further distinguishes Kentucky as we work toward widespread recognition as an engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence in North America.”
The Georgetown plant is at an all-time high of 8,200 employees with annual production capacity of 550,000 vehicles. It currently produces the Camry and Camry Hybrid, Avalon and Avalon Hybrid and Lexus ES 350. The plant also machines and assembles four-cylinder and V6 engines, axles and steering and engine components.
Kentucky’s automotive industry includes more than 500 facilities with more than 100,000 full-time jobs, officials said. The Georgetown plant attracted more than 180 Japanese-owned manufacturing, service and technology-related facilities to the state.
To encourage Toyota’s investment, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority added tax incentives of up to $43.5 million for the Reborn project, creating a total cumulative incentive of up to $190 million available for two projects at the Georgetown plant.
For more information on TMMK, visit toyotaky.com.