STAFF, WIRE REPORTS
MARCH 14, 2019 11:08 AM
MARCUS DORSEY MDORSEY@HERALD-LEADER.COM
Toyota’s Georgetown plant will build the hybrid Rav4 crossover sport-utility vehicle and the hybrid Lexus ES in a $238 million new investment, company officials revealed Thursday.
The Georgetown plant additions are part of $749 million in new investment in production in five states.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky was already Toyota’s largest in the world, according to the company, and as of Thursday, it could produce 550,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines annually.
“Today’s exciting announcement shows Toyota’s recognition and continued trust in the high-level skills and expertise of our fantastic team here in Kentucky,” said Toyota Kentucky President Susan Elkington. “The production changes announced today are centered upon our commitment to meet changing customer desires by diversifying the types of products our team members build here in Georgetown.“
The Lexus ES 300h hybrid will begin production in May with annual capacity of 12,000 vehicles. The Rav4 hybrid will be made starting in January 2020 with annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles.
“We are especially grateful that workers in Central Kentucky will not only benefit from the strong consumer market for SUVs by producing the RAV4 Hybrid starting in January 2020 but also from the Lexus ES 300 Hybrid production this year,” U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in prepared remarks.
Toyota currently manufactures the Camry, Avalon, Lexus ES 350, Camry hybrid and Avalon hybrid at the Georgetown facility. Four-cylinder and V-6 engines are also built at the site.
The plant was built as Toyota’s first “wholly-owned vehicle manufacturing plant” in the United States. The first Camry came off the line in May 1988, and in 2017 the operation celebrated its 30 year anniversary since ground was broken at the site.
Now, more than 8,000 workers are at the roughly 8 million-square-foot facility on more than 1,300 acres.
In 2017, Toyota put $1.33 billion in the Georgetown plant to upgrade it to what it called Toyota New Global Architecture; it got millions in state tax incentives to do so.. At the time, the average total hourly compensation for jobs at the plant was $45.47 — more than $90,000 a year for 40 hours of work a week,, according to state documents.
The entire plant was a $7 billion investment before Thursday’s announcement, the company said.
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