Toyota Announced A $1.33 Billion Investment In Kentucky Plant

Ford’s not the only automaker investing here at home. Toyota announced Monday it’s investing $1.33 billion to retool its sprawling factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, where flagship Camry sedans are built.

Although no new factory jobs are being added Toyota says the upgrades are going to be the biggest single investment ever at one of its existing plants in the U.S. The retooling also will keep the existing 8,200 jobs secured at Toyota’s largest plant. About one-fourth of all Toyota vehicles produced in North America are made at this plant.

“This major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky,” said Wil James, president of the plant. The updates at the Kentucky plant are just a part of Toyota’s plans to invest $10 billion in the America over the next five years.

In a paragraph that Toyota said was added to its news release at the White House’s request on Sunday night, President Trump praised the investment and said it’s “further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration.”

Trump wasn’t initially included in the first version released on Friday by Toyota in advance of Monday’s announcement. The release did, however, included quotes from Kentucky’s senators and governor.

This Toyota investment has been in the works for years as it gears up for production of the revamped 2018 Camry which has long been the top-selling car in the U.S. Toyota said the updated Camry’s new underpinnings were designed around five years ago, and the factory upgrade is needed in order to build the new car so it can go on sale later this summer. The plant also recently added more than 700 workers to support the launch.

Toyota is counting on the changes to solidify Camry’s excellent sales position which is being rivaled by SUV sales. “When the 2018 Camry hits the roads later this year, I’m convinced that it will have heads turning,” James said Monday.

In 2013 the automaker spent $530 million in the same plant to begin building the luxury Lexus ES 350. Last year, that plant produced more than 500,000 vehicles.

Both state and local officials attended an event Monday at the Georgetown plant to celebrate the big investment.