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Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) has announced it is spending C$421m to build the next generation Lexus RX350 and 450h models at its Cambridge [South], Ontario assembly plant.

The factory was the first outside Japan to build Lexus models, starting with first generation V6 petrol versions in 2003. It added the (third generation) hybrid 450h in March 2014.

The government of Canada and the province of Ontario are kicking in supporting funding of $100m, TMMC said.

It said the governments’ support, facilitated by the federal Automotive Innovation Fund and the Ontario Jobs and Prosperity Fund, would “support the introduction of advanced technology”.

Several features and technologies would be introduced at TMMC for the first time globally; others for the first time in North America.

For example, the redesigned fourth generation RX has a stiffer body structure. To build it, TMMC is introducing updated laser screw welding procedures and increasing the content of light weight, high strength steel used in assembly. In addition, the new RX relies on aluminium tailgate and bonnet panels to help control body weight.

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By GlobalData

Around $40m has been spent at Toyota’s Woodstock plant (which assembles the RAV4) to build a new stamping line capable of creating aluminum parts. To enhance vehicle durability, appearances and elements of tactile feel, the new RX built in Canada will also add new paint formulations and resins.

TMMC president Brian Krinock said: “Over the past three years, we have spent over $1bn on capital expenditures at our Canadian manufacturing facilities. The spending we are announcing today, along with recent investments in other aspects of our Canadian operations, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to this country, to our [workers] and to the community in which we do business.”

Krinock added “the new technology we’re bringing here will ensure Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada continues to lead the way”.

TMMC employs 8,000 people at its Cambridge [North and South] and Woodstock [aka West] assembly plants. Cambridge North builds Corolla sedans, mainly for North America.