GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP/WKYT) - Toyota says it's investing $1.3 billion to retool its sprawling Georgetown, Kentucky, factory where its flagship Camry sedans are built.
The automaker said Monday that no new factory jobs are being added, but the investment will sustain the existing 8,200 jobs at Toyota's largest plant, where nearly one-fourth of all Toyota vehicles produced in North America are made.
"This $1.33 billion investment is part of Toyota's plan to invest $10 billion dollars in the U.S. over the next five years, on top of the nearly $22 billion Toyota has invested in the U.S. over the past 60 years," said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America.
"Toyota New Global Architecture is about exciting, ever-better vehicles for our customers as it will improve performance of all models, including increased fuel efficiency, more responsive handling, and a more stable, comfortable feel while driving."
Toyota says the upgrades amount to its biggest single investment ever at an existing plant in the United States.
The factory-wide upgrade in Kentucky comes as Toyota is preparing for production of the revamped 2018 Camry featuring a new exterior design, an upgraded interior and a new engine.
"When you think about the fact that this is the number one selling car in America, that this is the most common car in people's garages, this is one of the most luxury sedans I've been in," Governor Matt Bevin remarked. "It's extraordinary. It's beautiful. It looks good. The ergonomics of it are phenomenal."
The Kentucky plant also assembles the Avalon and the Lexus ES 350.
"Today's announcement I think reinforces jobs in Kentucky. This is for the next 30 years. So while this was not a jobs announcement, per se, it was a huge financial commitment that means that jobs in production will flow from that," said Dave Adkisson with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Toyota is also donating some property at a business park to the county. They also donated a million dollars for future land purchases to help the economy in Scott County. In addition to those investments, Toyota also committed $2,000,000 over the next ten years to the non-profit Scott County United.