Already one of the world’s leading automotive plants by efficiency, productivity and technology, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc., known as TMMK, will undergo a $1.33 billion rebirth to increase manufacturing flexibility and shorten model changeover times, Gov. Matt Bevin and company leaders announced during an event in Georgetown.
“This investment is absolute proof the Kentucky Toyota plant is not only a leader in manufacturing under the Toyota umbrella, but throughout the world,” said Gov. Bevin. “It directly points to the hard work and dedication of the plant’s employees, as well as Toyota’s commitment to our Commonwealth. This project further distinguishes Kentucky as we work toward widespread recognition as an engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence in North America.”
Across the next few years, the rebirth project will replace or refurbish equipment and add new technology in multiple manufacturing areas, including stamping, body weld, paint, plastics, assembly and powertrain. As well, a new paint shop will be constructed – adding to TMMK’s square footage – and fitted with new equipment and technology.
The rebirth will prepare TMMK for the Toyota New Global Architecture, or TNGA, a global vehicle platform that can accommodate multiple configurations and powertrains. The Georgetown plant aims to be the first North American facility to use TNGA, starting with the 2018 Camry.
“This investment speaks directly to the quality of our people and our products, as well as the partnerships we’ve forged in the local community and across the state,” said Wil James, TMMK president. “It will allow us to create a more flexible production environment, which will position our plant to compete globally for new models, build ever-better cars for our customers now, and enable us to respond quicker and more capably to market demands down the road.”
Moving to TNGA provides both Toyota globally and TMMK the opportunity to streamline production processes and improve parts handling, logistics, vehicle safety, quality, efficiency and competitiveness. Company leaders expect the rebirth project will not affect employment at the Georgetown plant.
Sec. Terry Gill of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development said the new project will generate long-range benefits for Toyota, its employees and for Kentucky.
“This major investment further solidifies Toyota’s long-term commitment to its Kentucky plant,” Sec. Gill said. “Its ripple effects will add to Toyota’s three decades of transformative impact on our communities and for our residents across the commonwealth. Additionally, this strengthens Kentucky’s status as a top state for auto manufacturing.”
With 8,000 full-time employees and a 550,000 annual vehicle production capacity, TMMK is Toyota’s largest plant globally. Announced in 1986 and opened in 1988, the plant has assembled 11 million vehicles in its nearly 30 years of operation. It currently covers 8.1 million square feet and receives components from 350 suppliers in the US, about 100 of which are in Kentucky.
Currently, TMMK team members produce the Camry and Camry Hybrid, Avalon and Avalon Hybrid and Lexus ES 350. As well, the plant machines and assembles four-cylinder and V6 engines, axles and steering and engine components.
Kentucky’s automotive industry includes 500-plus facilities, employing more than 100,000 people full-time. The Georgetown plant played a leading role in Kentucky attracting more than 180 Japanese-owned manufacturing, service and technology-related facilities.
Sen. Damon Thayer, of Georgetown, said the rebirth will help carry forward TMMK’s success.
“As one of Kentucky’s largest private employers and a major economic driver for the state, TMMK’s ongoing success is paramount for the region and state,” Sen. Thayer said. “I’m thrilled to welcome this new investment as a rebirth of one of our key constituent businesses. It will give the plant the resources and flexibility it needs to continue operating and competing at the highest levels globally.”
Rep. Mark Hart, of Falmouth, said the project will impact the economy statewide.
“The announcement of such a significant investment by Toyota in Georgetown means more good things lie ahead for Kentucky’s automotive industry and for the state’s economy as a whole,” Rep. Hart said. “I fully support the commonwealth’s businesses reinvesting to bring new capabilities, efficiency and competitiveness and I congratulate TMMK on its project.”
Scott County Judge-Executive George Lusby welcomed the rebirth and its implications for the region.
“TMMK has been a first-rate community partner for Scott County and a provider of quality direct and indirect jobs for more than a generation,” Judge-Executive Lusby said. “For the families, community members and local businesses that rely on Toyota and its suppliers, this rebirth shows a new level of commitment and a promising economic future for many years to come.”
Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather pointed to Toyota’s decades of positive impact, saying the rebirth will continue the trend.
“Toyota’s ability to comprehensively renew its Georgetown plant speaks to the kind of quality-driven and forward-thinking principles that guide it,” Mayor Prather said. “Given the economic, employment and community benefits of our three-decade partnership with TMMK, I welcome the new project and look forward to its positive impacts for Georgetown.”
To encourage Toyota’s investment, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in a special meeting in April amended the company’s existing incentive agreement through the Kentucky Jobs Retention Act. The amendment added up to $43.5 million in tax incentives for the project, creating a total of up to $190 million in incentives that span multiple projects. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job retention and new capital investment targets.
For more information on TMMK, visit www.toyotageorgetown.com.
A detailed community profile for Scott County can be viewed at bit.ly/ScottCoKy.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.