Toyota announced yesterday that its plans to invest $10 billion in the United States, revealed earlier this year, will grow by another $374 million with big spending at five different factories in five different states.
Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Alabama, and Missouri will all benefit. Though it’s unlikely the investments will directly translate to much in the way of new employment — Toyota promises 50 new jobs in Alabama — Toyota says “these investments will help to ensure the stability of the plants’ employment levels in the future.”
At the core of the investments? Toyota is spending money to enable greater production of the new TNGA 2018 Toyota Camry’s 2.5-liter engines and hybrid transaxles. Why America? “The investment is part of our long-term commitment to build more vehicles and components in the markets in which we sell them.”
Toyota sells 200,000 vehicles per month in the United States.
Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, facility will receive nearly $121 million in order to expand capacity for 2.5-liter engines.
The Jackson, Tennessee facility will benefit from $14.5 million to “accomodate production of hybrid transaxle cases and houses” plus engine blocks for the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.
In Buffalo, West Virginia, $115 million will allow production of hybrid transaxles.
Huntsville, Alabama’s Toyota plant requires $106 million so it can build engines associated with the Toyota New Global Architecture.
In the Toyota plant in Troy, Missouri, $17 million will be invested to facilitate the build of more heads for the 2.5-liter engine.Much of this supports the plan to build more hybrid vehicles for America. Perceived by some to be an unnecessary stop-gap on the way to a fully electric fleet, Toyota believes in providing customers with the vehicles customers actually want to buy. To date, that has required expansions at pickup truck plants in Texas and Tijuana. But it also entails the building of more vehicles like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which Toyota made much more affordable earlier this year.
As a result, Highlander Hybrid sales have tripled to 11,099 units in America this year, according to HybridCars.com. Overall, Toyota and Lexus own 49 percent of the U.S. market for hybrids and plug-in hybrids through 2017’s first eight months.