Toyota Motor Corp. says it will invest $100 million to boost production of the luxury Lexus RX crossover sport utility vehicle at its Cambridge, Ont. plant.
The investment will create an additional 400 jobs and boost annual production by more than 40 per cent within two years, the company said.
The Cambridge plant will be able to make 104,000 Lexus RX vehicles a year, an increase of 30,000, the company said.
“For almost nine years now, Canada has had the only Lexus production outside of Japan,” observed Ray Tanguay, chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada. “New jobs, along with new technology, is great news for Canada.”
Half the new capacity – 15,000 vehicles a year –will be for the RX450h, a hybrid electric version of the popular luxury vehicle, the company said.
“This is a big and ambitious project with new technology, exacting standards and tight timelines,” said Brian Krinock, president of the Canadian Toyota maker.
Asia’s largest automaker said the move is intended to offset the effects of a rising yen, which is making its vehicles more expensive to produce in Japan.
The Japanese currency has gained about 8.9 percent in the past three months against nine developed-nation peers tracked by Bloomberg Correlation Weighted Indexes, the biggest increase in the group.
It’s the second time in a year Toyota has announced plans to increase capacity in Canada as it heads for a record production year in North America.
In March, Toyota said it would invest $80 million to expand capacity at its Woodstock facility by a third. The plant makes the smaller RAV4 sports utility vehicle.
The Woodstock plant will be able to produce 200,000 RAV4 vehicles annually, up from 150,000, by early next year, Toyota said at the time.
Combined with Tuesday’s announcement, direct job creation at Toyota will rise by 800 jobs to a total of 7, 300 this year, the company said.
The latest announcement will take Toyota’s annual production capacity in Canada to 500,000 units, the company said.
In 2011, the governments of Canada and Ontario partnered with Toyota on a multi-project suite of initiatives designed to sustain and grow Toyota’s manufacturing footprint in Canada and encourage the production of greener, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
”Our government’s top priority is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, and we are pleased to see Toyota expanding production at its Cambridge facility,” said industry minister Christian Paradis.
“Toyota’s announcement strengthens Ontario’s position as North America’s leading jurisdiction for automotive assembly,” Ontario’s economic development minister Brad Duguid said in a statement.
Toyota has been building vehicles in Canada for more than 25 years. The company also makes the Toyota Corolla, Matrix, and RAV4 EV vehicles in Cambridge and Woodstock.
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