Toyota on Monday marked the production of the first V8 engines made outside of Japan in the US state of Alabama with a ceremony attended by senior executives, and local and state officials.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama represents an investment of $US220 million and currently employs about 300 people who will produce 120,000 engines annually for the Tundra pick-up truck made in Indiana. Employment will grow to about 350 when the plant is at full production.

Toyota currently has 10 vehicle manufacturing and parts facilities in North America, and is building three more in Baja California, Mexico; San Antonio, Texas; and Jackson, Tennessee.

By 2006, Toyota will have capacity to build 1.65 million cars and trucks a year and 1.16 million engines in North America.