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Toyota investing $374M at 5 U.S. factories

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A Toyota plant in Princeton, Ind., in 2010. Toyota Motor Corp. has announced a $374 million investment at five U.S. plants to support production of its first American-made hybrid powertrain.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. >> Toyota Motor Corp. announced a $374 million investment today at five U.S. plants to support production of its first American-made hybrid powertrain.

The upgrades at Toyota’s factories in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia are part of a previously announced $10 billion in U.S. spending by the Japanese automaker. It “underscores Toyota’s confidence in the capability and global competitiveness of our North American manufacturing,” Jeff Moore, Toyota North America’s senior vice president of manufacturing, said in a statement.

Toyota said 2.5-liter engines made in Kentucky and transmissions produced in West Virginia will be used in North American-made hybrid vehicles, such as the Highlander SUV manufactured in Princeton, Indiana.

Toyota will create 50 jobs at its Huntsville, Alabama, plant, which will build engines for its cost-saving New Global Architecture production strategy to share common parts and components among different vehicles. None of the other upgrades announced Tuesday will result in immediate net job gains.

The investment includes $106 million at the Huntsville plant, a $121 million expansion of a 2.5-liter engine capacity at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, and $115 million to add hybrid vehicle transmission production in Buffalo, West Virginia.

Toyota also is investing $17 million to increase production of 2.5-liter cylinder heads at its Bodine Aluminum facility in Troy, Missouri. A $14.5 million upgrade at a Bodine plant in Jackson, Tennessee, will accommodate production of hybrid transmission cases and housings and 2.5-liter engine blocks.

“This investment is part of our long-term commitment to build more vehicles and components in the markets in which we sell them,” said Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz.

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