Making America Great Again: Toyota to invest millions in five states

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Toyota is investing $374 million in plants in Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, and Alabama to support the “first American-made hybrid powertrain” on its new Highlander hybrid SUV, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The Japanese company said the new investment projects are scheduled to begin this year and should be operational in 2020.

“This latest wave of investment represents our efforts to localize production of hybrid powertrains to the U.S.,” said Jeff Moore, Toyota’s senior vice president of manufacturing. “Hybrid is a core Toyota technology and localization reflects the company’s confidence in the capability and global competitiveness of our North American manufacturing.”

In January, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said they had a 5-year plan to expand production and invest $10 billion in the U.S. In May, Toyota announced plans to invest $1.33 billion to begin producing vehicles using Toyota New Global Architecture at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., the first plant in North America to use this technology.

About $1.6 billion will go to a final assembly plant the automaker plans to build in a partnership with fellow Japanese automaker, Mazda. The location for that plant has yet to be selected.

According to The Hill, those investments and others bring Toyota nearly halfway to their total investment, with $4.1 billion committed so far.

“This investment is part of our long-term commitment to build more vehicles and components in the markets in which we sell them,” Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, said on Tuesday. “This strategy is designed to better serve our customers and dealers and positions our manufacturing operations to fulfill their needs well into the future.”

Several foreign automakers have also promised to boost investment, production, and jobs in the U.S.

On Sep. 21, Mercedes-Benz committed to expanding an existing production plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The company plans to set up electric vehicle production to produce EQ-branded electric SUV models. In total, it plans to invest $1 billion on the expansion in the region. Once completed, the investments are expected to create more than 600 additional jobs.

According to Bloomberg, Volvo will be expanding in South Carolina. Volvo Cars plans to assemble the latest XC90 sports utility vehicle in the U.S. due to its new “build where you sell” strategy.

Bringing assembly of the SUV to South Carolina from Sweden will put factory employment at almost 4,000, and represent an investment of $1.1 billion. The plant, near Charleston, South Carolina, was already under construction, set to manufacture the S60 sedan.

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