Toyota has confirmed that it will construct a new plant in Woodstock, Ontario and provided some additional detail on its plans.

The plant will employ some 1,300 people to build the RAV4 sport utility vehicle. The new plant represents an approximate C$800 million/US$650 million investment and will be Toyota's second Canadian assembly plant. It is the first green field automotive assembly facility in Canada in almost 20 years.

Additionally, Toyota announced an expansion of Canadian Autoparts Toyota, Inc. in Delta, British Columbia. As a result of the C$39.0 million/US$31.6 million expansion, wheel capacity at the facility will increase by nearly 17 percent per year, starting in July 2007.

The new Woodstock plant will open in 2008 and will have the capacity to build 100,000 units annually. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Canada, Inc. (TMMC) in nearby Cambridge, Ontario, will manage the plant. TMMC builds the Toyota Corolla and Matrix and the Lexus RX330 in Cambridge, where it employs 4,300.

Katsuaki Watanabe, named president of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) on June 23, discussed the new investment via videotape broadcast during the announcement.

"Twenty years ago, Toyota management made two profound decisions. We decided to make a sweeping commitment to manufacturing in North America. And we decided that Canada would be a core part of that commitment," he said. "This expansion will strengthen our ties further with suppliers and with other partners across North America."

Atsushi Niimi, the recent former president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America (TMMNA) and now a senior managing director of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), noted the benefits of the Woodstock location.

"This location allows us to capitalize on our outstanding operation 40 kilometres away in Cambridge. Its proximity to suppliers on both sides of the border will benefit both countries and it will mean new opportunities for those suppliers. Jobs will be created across North America," he said.

TMMC has been manufacturing vehicles in Cambridge since November 1988. Original capacity was 50,000 units annually. By 2004, production had climbed to 288,000 units.