Toyota announces $461 million investment for facility, operation, hiring upgrades

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – You might think Toyota Kentucky (TMMK) has seen it all during its 35-year history. But today, Toyota announced a series of changes and projects that will boost the Georgetown plant’s transformation to meet shifting customer demand, reduce its carbon footprint, and advance future capabilities.

“Kentucky’s automotive industry is growing at a record pace, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky is at the center of that growth,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “Toyota changed the landscape of manufacturing in our state when the Georgetown facility first opened more than 30 years ago, and now the company is preparing for future growth. I am thrilled that future will include Kentucky in a significant way.”

A new investment of $461 million will support TMMK’s transformation plans, including three primary purposes:

  • Facility Enhancements and Operational Upgrades
    Advanced manufacturing equipment and technologies, coupled with facility layout improvements, will increase the plant’s operational speed, flexibility, and competitiveness. These improvements will expand TMMK’s ability to produce new products, including future electrification.
  • Expansion of Powertrain Capabilities
    TMMK’s powertrain operation will increase its product mix with a 2.4-liter turbo engine line. The new line will support an expanded range of vehicles produced in North America, further increasing the plant’s flexibility to quickly meet an evolving market.
  • Direct Hire Program
    The plant is changing its employment structure to a direct hire process. Approximately 1,400 variable team members, currently employed through Kelly Services, will be offered a direct Toyota position, along with all new hires. TMMK is among other Toyota plants across the U.S. to implement the change to help improve recruiting efforts, retain top talent and provide a more inclusive work environment.

“As Toyota’s most experienced assembly plant in the U.S. with a workforce of about 9,000, TMMK must transform physically and strategically to meet the changing needs of customers,” said Susan Elkington, president of TMMK. “I am confident in our highly skilled team members who drive us forward every day as we prepare for the future of advanced manufacturing, whatever the products might be.”

TMMK will continue to build the best-selling Camry, Camry Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid. To help create space for future products and to better align with U.S. market demand, production of the Lexus ES and Lexus ES Hybrid will shift from the facility and consolidate production back to Japan prior to the next major model change.

“Expanding TMMK’s powertrain capabilities and product mix supports our growing North America manufacturing footprint and commitment to build where we sell,” says David Rosier, head of TMMK Powertrain. “The 2.4T engine line will give us more flexibility to offer a full portfolio of products, meeting current and future customer demand.”

In 2006, Toyota debuted its first U.S. manufactured hybrid electric vehicle at the Kentucky operation. The most recent electrification milestone announced TMMK’s powertrain plant as the site for assembling fuel cell modules for use in hydrogen-powered, heavy duty commercial trucks starting in 2023.

“Kentucky’s automotive industry is growing at a record pace, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky is at the center of that growth,” said Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear. “Toyota changed the landscape of manufacturing in our state when the Georgetown facility first opened more than 30 years ago, and now the company is preparing for future growth. I am thrilled that future will include Kentucky in a significant way.”

TMMK’s transformation began in 2017 with a $1.3 billion investment in its operations – equipping the facility with the Toyota New Global Architecture manufacturing platform and a new paint operation. Once this project is complete by 2025, TMMK’s total investment will be over $8.5 billion.

The Georgetown Site is also home to Toyota’s Production Engineering Manufacturing Center (PEMC) and the Manufacturing Production Innovation Center (MPIC) which spearheads mobility transformation initiatives, technologies, and advanced processing initiatives for the company’s 14 North American manufacturing facilities.

Kentucky’s automotive industry includes more than 525 facilities, employing over 100,000 people full-time. Including Toyota’s investment, automotive-related companies have announced over $6.5 billion in new investments this year and 6,900 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.

TMMK also has helped drive foreign-direct investment from Japanese-owned companies in the commonwealth. Currently, nearly 200 Japanese-owned manufacturing, service and technology-related facilities are located throughout the state, employing close to 47,000 people full time.

Scott County Judge/Executive Joe Pat Covington said TMMK will continue to be an important part of the local business community for years to come.

“The investment that Toyota continues to make in our community, region and state will provide the flexibility to adjust to the changing automotive market and confirms their confidence in Georgetown and Scott County as being a vital part of their vision for the future,” Judge/Executive Covington said. “On behalf of Scott County, we are grateful for the investment.”

Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather said the community is proud to continue its partnership with Toyota.

“The City of Georgetown is delighted to be a partner with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky’s latest announcement to expand and invest at the Georgetown facility; the largest Toyota plant in the world,” Mayor Prather said. “The investment foundation continues to be built and we, along with our other automotive partners, look to build upon their commitment to our community.

Jack Conner, executive director of Scott County United Inc., said the project emphasizes Georgetown is the perfect fit for Toyota’s continued growth in Kentucky.

“Once again, we are so pleased that Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky continues to invest in our community, region and state,” Conner said. “After 35 years, the investment substantiates we are indeed a great place to do business!”

To encourage investment and job retention in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) today approved a supplemental project to an existing Kentucky Jobs Retention Act (KJRA) program agreement with the company. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $212.5 million in cumulative tax incentives based on the company’s total cumulative investment of $2.2 billion across the original and supplemental KJRA projects with an annual job target requirement of up to 8,250 over the term of the agreement.

By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.

In addition, Toyota can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.

For more information on TMMK, click here.

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