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Toyota To Build Lexus ES 350 At Its Georgetown, Kentucky Plant

Investing $360 million and creating 750 new jobs to produce 50,000 vehicles annually starting in 2015

Latest in series of investments totaling $2 billion over last 17 months to expand North American production and create more than 4,000 new jobs

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ERLANGER, Ky., April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, a Lexus vehicle will be produced in the United States. The Lexus ES 350 will be assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) in 2015, Toyota announced today.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130419/NY97803 )

The move will generate 750 new jobs. To support the new dedicated assembly line, Toyota will invest $360 million in the Georgetown plant.

About 50,000 Lexus vehicles a year will be produced, bringing the plant's total annual production capacity to more than 550,000 vehicles. It will be the first time the ES will be assembled outside of Japan.

"Lexus was founded in the United States, so it is only fitting that we are bringing the production of luxury sedans for our U.S. customers back to where the brand was born," said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation. "Today's announcement is a major step in our Global Vision to make ever better cars and trucks, give regions greater autonomy to make the products their customers want and achieve sustainable growth globally."

"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 Governor Steven Beshear of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. "The establishment of production for the Lexus ES 350 will 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."

Production of the ES 350 at the Georgetown plant is the latest step in Toyota's continuing strategy to assemble vehicles in the markets where its customers live. Over the past 17 months, the company has announced plans to increase production capacity at its plants in Mississippi, Indiana, West Virginia and Canada, reflecting a cumulative investment of approximately $2 billion that has created more than 4,000 new jobs.  Toyota also recently announced executive changes designed to provide regional managers with more local control and a streamlined decision-making structure to help the company deliver superior customer-focused products and services. 

"Today's Lexus ES announcement further strengthens Toyota's commitment to serving American consumers, growing American production and investing in American team members," said Jim Lentz, Toyota's chief executive officer for North America. "We're extraordinarily proud to have helped create over 365,000 jobs across the country and to produce so many of the industry's highest quality vehicles right here in the United States. Today, Toyota's 14 North American plants already produce seven out of every 10 vehicles that we sell in America, and North American-assembled vehicles are now exported to 23 countries around the world."

Established in January 1986, TMMK is Toyota's largest manufacturing facility outside of Japan, employing approximately 6,600 people. The plant currently assembles the Toyota Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza and manufactures 4-cylinder and V6 engines. It has earned 10 Initial Quality Plant Awards from J.D. Power and Associates, including four gold J.D. Power Awards.

In 2012, the plant produced the 25 millionth Toyota vehicle built in North America.  Toyota recently committed to boosting production capacity for the 4-cylinder engine at the plant by more than 100,000 units. This $30 million project will create about 80 new jobs. 

"The decision to move ES 350 production to Kentucky is a true tribute to the hard work and commitment to excellence of every single Toyota team member at this plant," said TMMK President Wil James. "We deeply appreciate the tremendous support we have received from our community, from our local suppliers and business partners, and from Governor Beshear and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We look forward to strengthening further the productive partnership we have built together over the last 25 years."

The ES is Lexus's bestselling sedan, with approximately 58,850 vehicles sold in North America in 2012 -- including 56,158 in the U.S.  Projections for Toyota's production volume at the company's Kyushu plant in Japan have not changed. The company remains committed to building 3 million vehicles per year in Japan, including Lexus models, as previously announced.

Toyoda and Lentz made the Lexus ES 350 production announcement at a press conference prior to a major New York City event showcasing Lexus's commitment to groundbreaking design and its redoubled focus on creating a global luxury brand experience.

A live webcast of the press conference, beginning at 9:30 AM ET, can be viewed at https://new.livestream.com/Lexus/pressconference.  A recorded version will be available at the same URL following the press conference.  More information about the history of Lexus can be found at http://pressroom.lexus.com/releases/history+lexus.

MEDIA CONTACTS






For manufacturing inquiries:



Mike Goss (TEMA)              


859-746-6676

Carri Chandler (TEMA)     


859-746-6633




For sales inquiries:



Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.



Media Line                       


310-468-5297

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and currently operates 14 manufacturing plants. There are more than 1,800 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America which sold over 2.3 million vehicles in 2012. Toyota directly employs nearly 39,000 people in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $24.5 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals nearly $30 billion. Toyota currently produces 12 vehicles in North America, including the Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Sienna, Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza and the Lexus RX 350. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com or www.toyotanewsroom.com.

About Lexus

Lexus launched in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since that time, Lexus has expanded its line-up to meet the needs of global luxury customers. In every vehicle, Lexus incorporates innovative technologies, high-quality designs and luxury materials. With numerous models featuring Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader and is dedicated to developing vehicles that are kinder to the Earth. Lexus' current vehicles incorporate outstanding driving dynamic characteristics and feature a new design language that includes a spindle grille and distinctive lights, creating a signature look and feel for the luxury brand. In the United States, Lexus models are sold through 232 dealers who are committed to exemplary customer service.

SOURCE Toyota



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