US: Toyota marking 25 years of Kentucky manufacturing
One of 8.7m - this Avalon was on the line in 2007
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) tcelebrate 25 years of production tomorrow (19 November) at events at Keeneland Race Course with Fujio Cho, chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation and past president of TMMK and various politicians. Workers will mark the anniversary at a private function at Rupp Arena.
Ground was broken 25 years ago on a 1,300-acre tract of farmland in Scott County that now is home to Toyota's largest manufacturing facility outside of Japan employing nearly 7,000 people.
The automaker so far has spent US$5.4bn in the operation which has seen several expansions, including two new plants. Today, TMMK produces Camry, Avalon and Venza vehicles, plus I4 and V6 engines and several other components.
"It's hard to believe that it has been 25 years since we began our journey here," said Cho, president of the plant from 1988 to 1994. "I remember when we built the first Camry. Despite the uncertain future, we were excited to make Kentucky our first home for a Toyota vehicle plant in the US."
The powertrain plant was announced in November 1987; six months before the first Camry rolled off the line. A second assembly line began producing vehicles in 1994.
Since 1988, the facility has built 8.7m vehicles. Toyota also employs about 1,500 workers at its North American manufacturing headquarters in Erlanger, Kentucky making the company the third largest private employer in the state. Around 100 automotive suppliers in Kentucky employ over 9,600 workers making parts for Toyota vehicles.
As part of the celebration, TMMK will donate a Georgetown-built Camry hybrid vehicle to a non-profit organisation and provide four other groups with individual $25,000 gifts.
The two manufacturing plants have the capacity to produce 500,000 vehicles annually.
TMMK has won 10 JD Power and Associates initial quality plant awards, the most of any auto-manufacturing facility in North America.