Toyota has begun production of its new five-passenger Versa exclusively for North America. The new crossover is made by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK).

"It's always exciting to launch a new product," said Steve St. Angelo, president of TMMK and senior vice-president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, North America (TEMA). "For Toyota to select TMMK as the production site is a real tribute to our team members and the experience of working side-by-side with our design and engineering groups has been very valuable."

Toyota said that all aspects of Venza's engineering and design were targeted specifically for the North American market where it will be sold exclusively. Venza was primarily engineered at Toyota Technical Centre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and designed at the automaker's Calty Design studios in Newport Beach, California and Ann Arbor.

TMMK has the capacity to build about 70,000 Venzas annually. The plant's manufacturing flexibility allows the Venza to be built on the same assembly line as the Camry, Camry Hybrid and Solara convertible.

Toyota added that more than 30 Kentucky-based suppliers will supply parts for the Venza including seats and glass components. Venza's overall domestic content is approximately 70%.

TMMK is Toyota's largest plant in North America employing about 7,000 workers and has annual capacity of 500,000 engines and vehicles.

Toyota currently produces 11 vehicles in North America, including the Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Matrix, Sienna, Solara, Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza and the Lexus RX350.

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