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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Leah Curry, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, speaks in Buffalo, W.Va. Toyota Motor Corp. is investing an $750 million at five U.S. plants. That investment is expected to bring nearly 600 new jobs. 

Friday, March 15, 2019 1:00 am

Toyota increasing US investment

$750 million, 600 new jobs coming to 5 separate facilities

JOHN RABY and BRUCE SCHREINER | Associated Press

BUFFALO, W.Va. – Toyota Motor Corp. on Thursday announced it is investing an additional $750 million at five U.S. plants that will bring nearly 600 new jobs, including the production of two hybrid vehicles for the first time at its Kentucky facility.

It marks yet another U.S. expansion by the Japanese automaker, bringing to nearly $13 billion the amount it will spend by 2021.

The latest investments are at facilities in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia. Those same facilities were part of a 2017 announcement by Toyota for a $374 million investment to support production of its first American-made hybrid powertrain.

President Donald Trump congratulated Toyota on Twitter and tried to tie the announcement to his efforts on trade.

Referring to an agreement with Canada and Mexico that would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, Trump said: “BIG NEWS for U.S. Auto Workers! The USMCA is already fixing the broken NAFTA deal.”

The revised version of NAFTA negotiated by the Trump administration, regarded by many as a modest recasting of the original agreement, has not been approved by Congress.

The president made no mention when a Chevrolet Cruze factory in Ohio recently closed, the first of five North American plants that GM intends to shut down by early next year.

Toyota Motor North America executive Chris Reynolds said the investments represent yet more examples of the company's long-term commitment to build where it sells, irrespective of trade uncertainty due to tariffs.

“Our overarching manufacturing principle is if we can sell it here we need to make it here. That's been true before any tariff uncertainty, it's true during tariff uncertainty and it will be true after. Our investment cycles go beyond any particular political cycle,” he said.