Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky will invest $360 million to expand its Georgetown, Kentucky, manufacturing plant and establish its first U.S. production site for the Lexus ES 350, creating an estimated 750 jobs in the Commonwealth.
TMMK will produce about 50,000 Lexus vehicles a year starting in 2015. Toyota will invest an additional $171.2 million in other plant refurbishments. The investment is the second-largest ever made by Toyota in its Georgetown plant, and the largest since the $800 million addition of Plant 2 in 1991, more than 20 years ago.
The Lexus ES 350, previously only assembled in Japan, is Lexus’ best-selling sedan, with approximately 58,850 vehicles sold in North America in 2012, including 56,158 in the United States. The addition of about 50,000 Lexus vehicles a year will bring TMMK’s annual production capacity to more than 550,000 vehicles by 2015.
“Since its arrival here in 1986, the impact Toyota has had on Kentucky has been immeasurable, and the addition of Lexus production only adds to that enduring legacy,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “The numbers that jump out right away include the 750 jobs and the more than $530 million investment, but the establishment of production for the Lexus ES 350 will also afford Kentucky a tremendous opportunity to expand and strengthen its vast supplier base, creating even more growth potential in the future. Kentucky is proud of the confidence Toyota continues to demonstrate in our vibrant and skilled workforce as they prepare to make a vehicle model that, like them, has earned a reputation for high quality.”
“I’m proud of our economic development team’s constant efforts to keep Kentucky competitive,” said Gov. Beshear. “Expanding a key incentive program – one that had demonstrated success in our state already – helped us to land an enormous investment from Toyota, which will in turn create even more investment through suppliers and other support businesses. This means more dependable, good-paying jobs for our families.”
As an incentive to secure Toyota’s investment and job growth in Georgetown, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $146.5 million through the Kentucky Jobs Retention Act.
“It is fitting that the first country to build the ES outside of Japan is the United States because this is home for Lexus. It’s where the brand was founded and is still the biggest market for our luxury brand,” said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation. “It is also fitting that we chose Kentucky because it was Toyota’s first stand-alone plant in America. So in a way, for manufacturing, Kentucky is Toyota’s home. It also has some of the most-experienced Toyota team members in the world. I want to personally thank Gov. Steve Beshear for creating a positive business environment and supporting our partnership, which is still going strong after more than a quarter century.”