Manufacturing Today - May/June 2017 - 87
toyota believes the future is now with a major investment
in kentucky toward its toyota new global architecture
Toyota is laying claim to automotive dominance in the South. The
company's $1.33 billion investment - the highest of any automaker in Kentucky and the second-largest in state history - will make Toyota Motor
Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. (TMMK) the first plant in North America to
begin producing vehicles using Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA).
Named the "Most American Made" car by Cars.com and
the No. 1 selling car in America for the past 15 years, the Camry,
from the 2018 model year, will become the first Toyota vehicle
made in the United States to fully incorporate the new vehicle
development and production technology. "This $1.33 billion investment is part of Toyota's plan to invest $10 billion dollars in
the United States over the next five years, on top of the nearly $22
billion Toyota has invested in the U.S. over the past 60 years,"
says Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. "Toyota
New Global Architecture is about exciting, ever-better vehicles
for our customers as it will improve performance of all models,
including increased fuel efficiency, more responsive handling
and a more stable, comfortable feel while driving."
TNGA represents a new strategy to the way the company designs, engineers and manufactures its vehicles. In addition, it
will shorten the development cycle for vehicle improvements
and new vehicles. TNGA retains all of Toyota's traditional values of exceptional build quality and safety while injecting a fun
driving experience with more responsive handling, regardless
of the model. It also allows for a more flexible production environment, which will allow Toyota Kentucky to build ever-better cars, and respond quicker and more capably to customer
demands down the road.
In addition to TNGA improvements, TMMK will undergo
other makeovers that will, together, modernize and streamline
the production process. That includes updating equipment
and construction of an all-new paint shop.
"This is the largest investment in our plant's history and it
speaks directly to the quality of our people and our products,
as well as the partnerships we've forged in the local community
and across the state," says Wil James, president, TMMK. "This
major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky."
Toyota Kentucky is the automaker's largest plant in the
world, employing 8,200 team members. This represents an alltime high after recently adding more than 700 people to support the upcoming launch of the 2018 Camry.
Last year, TMMK produced nearly a quarter of the total number of Toyota vehicles produced in North America - more than
500,000. In total, the plant has produced more than one-third -
11 million - of all Toyota vehicles manufactured in North America since 1986.
Today's announcement adds to the $530 million investment
the plant committed to in 2013, in part to support Lexus production. This brings Toyota Kentucky's investment in the last
four years to approximately $1.86 billion.
A recent study by the Center for Automotive Research
shows Toyota Kentucky supports nearly 30,000 jobs across the
state (direct, indirect, and spin-off). TMMK employees live in
80 Kentucky counties, and currently Toyota has more than 100
suppliers located across the Commonwealth.
"This major investment further solidifies Toyota's longterm commitment to its Kentucky plant," says Secretary Terry
Gill of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. "Its
ripple effects will add to Toyota's three decades of transformative impact on our communities and for our residents across
the Commonwealth. Additionally, this strengthens Kentucky's status as a top state for auto manufacturing." mt
MAY/JUNE 2017 manufacturing-today.com