Toyota planning $461 million Georgetown expansion for ‘advanced technology vehicles’

·3 min read

Toyota is proposing a new $460.8 million expansion of its Georgetown manufacturing plant, already the company’s largest in the world.

According to a news release Friday, the plans include a major update to that will expand the plant’s “ability to produce new products, including future electrification.” The plans has made hybrid electric vehicles since 2006.

Georgetown has already been announced as the site for assembling fuel cell modules for use in hydrogen-powered heavy-duty commercial trucks starting in 2023, according to the release.

Now, the plant also will begin making a new 2.4-liter turbo engine for an expanded range of vehicles made in North America.

And the company will shift to a direct hiring process that will move about 1,400 contract employees to the Toyota payroll, along with all new hires. That will increase Toyota’s official employment by over 20 percent.

“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, in the release. “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.”

The Georgetown Toyota plant is the company’s largest, at 1,300 acres and growing.
The Georgetown Toyota plant is the company’s largest, at 1,300 acres and growing.

While Georgetown will continue to build the Camry, Camry Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid, according to the release, production of the Lexus ES and Lexus ES Hybrid will shift back to Japan “to help create space for future products and to better align with U.S. market demand.”

“Kentucky’s automotive industry is growing at a record pace, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky is at the center of that growth,” said Gov. Andy Beshear in a statement. “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.”

On Thursday, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved an additional $22.5 million in potential tax incentives, up to $212.5 million for the proposed project.

Toyota had been approved in 2013 for up to $190 million in tax incentives for a $1.74 billion expansion. Now, the total investment will grow to over $2.2 billion to be invested by March 31, 2024, according to the KEDFA report.

Once the full project is complete by 2025, TMMK’s total investment will be over $8.5 billion, according to the company.

”TMMK is studying ways to improve plant flexibility and competitiveness to better meet customer and market changes, while further minimizing environmental impacts,” Kim Ogle, spokeswoman for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky said in an email. “Adding new equipment, enhancing advanced manufacturing technologies, and improving plant layout to make operations more efficient are some of the initiatives being considered. Toyota continues to invest in TMMK because of our workforce and their proven ability and commitment to safely building the highest quality vehicles on the road today.”

According to the KEDFA report, Toyota plans to “build the most advanced vehicle production line with the flexibility to build sedan, SUV and future advanced technology vehicles.”

Entrance to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown, Ky, on April 10, 2017.
Entrance to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown, Ky, on April 10, 2017.

In September, Toyota announced the company planed to spend $13.5 billion by 2030 to develop battery-powered electric vehicles, including $3.4 billion in the U.S.

According to Forbes, that includes building a $1.3 billion factory. However, Toyota has not said where the new vehicles would be built.

The Kentucky project, according to the state’s economic officials, includes “enhancements and modifications to the production line layout with new and updated equipment for multiple platform vehicles, expand powertrain offerings with two new engine models.”

The first Toyota Camry produced at the Georgetown, Kentucky Plant. Mike Dodge (right), the plant’s general manager, shakes hands with Lee Pokriva of the plant’s quality control unit after Pokriva drove the car into the lobby of the administration building. The car was put on permanent display at the plant on May 26, 1988. David Perry | Staff
The first Toyota Camry produced at the Georgetown, Kentucky Plant. Mike Dodge (right), the plant’s general manager, shakes hands with Lee Pokriva of the plant’s quality control unit after Pokriva drove the car into the lobby of the administration building. The car was put on permanent display at the plant on May 26, 1988. David Perry | Staff
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