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Toyota Mulls Overseas Production of More Lexus Models Due to Strong Yen

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Old 04-19-13, 06:19 AM   #31
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The Toyota Motor Corporation is expected to announce on Friday that it will expand production at its plant in Kentucky, most likely adding a line for the luxury Lexus sedan.

Toyota currently does not build any luxury models in the United States. It does make the Lexus RX sport utility vehicle at its Lexus plant in Cambridge, Ontario, which is also expanding to accommodate a hybrid version of the S.U.V.

The addition of new production lines for luxury vehicles underscores the stiff competition among leading automakers in the United States, where sales of luxury cars have been growing faster than other auto sales. In the United States, sales of Lexus models improved by 15.6 percent through March of this year, and Toyota and other automakers are eager to capture the rebound of the luxury buyer.

Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, will make an announcement about the new production in New York, where he is also scheduled to attend a Lexus brand marketing event.

Mr. Toyoda is expected to detail a plan to build the Lexus ES sedan in Georgetown, Ky., according to a person with knowledge of the plan who was not permitted to comment publicly before the announcement. Kentucky has been competing for the expansion, and has offered Toyota $146.5 million in state and local tax incentives, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported this week.

The state’s governor, Steve Beshear, will also be making an announcement on Friday at the Georgetown plant with Toyota officials. The expansions reflect Toyota’s wide-scale efforts to overhaul its luxury products, including a redesign of its Lexus models to appeal to younger drivers and to try to lure customers away from top-selling luxury rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Toyota had been the best-selling luxury brand in the United States for 11 consecutive years until 2011. But in recent months, Toyota unveiled new versions of Lexus models that feature bolder styling, better safety features and more powerful engines.

Building a Lexus model in the United States for the 1st time could help burnish the brand’s image. Toyota already builds a broad range of vehicles in the United States, including pickup trucks in Texas.

The Lexus entry into production in Kentucky and the expansion in Canada are both expected to add jobs, and both are occurring with the help of government subsidies.

The Louisville Courier-Journal said the incentives would be offered in exchange for retention of at least 6,100 full-time jobs, and that possibly as many as 750 new jobs could be added. Of the 750 jobs, 180 would be variable and contract workers, the newspaper said in describing conditions set by the state’s finance authority. The remaining 570 positions were used to calculate the state’s $146.5 million incentive offer involving a total of 6,739 jobs, according to the report.

In Canada, Toyota said it would spend $125 million to expand its plant in Cambridge, Ontario. The investment, which includes government loans of $34 million, will increase Lexus production in Canada by 30,000 units, to 104,000 a year. About 400 new jobs will be created when the expansion is completed next January.

A top Lexus sales executive, Timothy Morrison, said at a media event in Detroit last year that the brand was not necessarily set on regaining the top spot among luxury cars.

“We don’t care who is No. 1 at the end of the year,” said Mr. Morrison. “Being No. 1 with the customer is what we need to focus on.”

Another Japanese automaker, Nissan, is planning to build its 1st Infiniti luxury model in the United States at a plant in Tennessee. In that case, the American plant beat out Nissan plants in Japan for the assignment.
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Old 01-09-14, 12:10 PM   #32
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The ES is Lexus' top-selling sedan, but the Japanese luxury marque has never manufactured it outside of Japan. In fact, Lexus has never made any cars in the United States, one of its largest markets worldwide. But that's about to change.

Yesterday, construction began in Georgetown, Kentucky, on the 1st Lexus assembly line in America, the 1st concrete (or steel) step in a $360-million expansion of Toyota's plant in the Bluegrass state that will create 750 new jobs. The expansion was announced last April by chief executive Akio Toyoda at the New York Auto Show.

Once the new assembly line gets online in the fall of next year, Toyota plans on building some 50,000 units of the ES each year. Lexus sold a record 72,581 examples of the ES in the United States last year – 30 percent more than the previous year – so Lexus will either have to import some more from overseas or leave some buyers disappointed.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) also builds the Camry, Avalon and Venza, with a capacity to assembly 500,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines each year.
Lexus' New Kentucky Home Celebrates First Milestone
Construction Begins on Dedicated Assembly Line for First U.S.-Produced Lexus

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (Jan. 8, 2014) – With the 1st steel column now in place, construction is officially underway on the future assembly line of the 1st U.S.-produced Lexus. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) commemorated the milestone earlier today by having members of the company's leadership team sign the structure.

Last April's announcement to localize production of the ES 350, which has never been assembled outside Japan, aligns with Toyota's continuing strategy to assemble vehicles in the markets where its customers live. The ES is Lexus' bestselling sedan, with 72,581 units sold in the U.S. in 2013, up nearly 30 percent from 2012.

Localizing production of the luxury sedan will generate 750 new jobs in the Bluegrass. Additionally, Toyota is investing $360 million in its Kentucky plant, the company's largest and most experienced manufacturing operation in North America. Production of the ES 350 is set to begin in the fall of 2015, with plans to assemble approximately 50,000 units in Georgetown annually.

"Today's milestone is symbolic of the bright future that lies ahead of us," said Wil James, president of Toyota's Kentucky plant. "We're proud of our long history of building world-class vehicles in the Bluegrass, and look forward to raising the bar once again by adding Lexus to our lineup of Kentucky-made products."

About Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.
Toyota's largest plant in North America, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) started production in May 1988. The Georgetown, Ky. plant employs approximately 6,600 full time team members and represents a $6 billion investment. TMMK currently produces the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza as well as four-cylinder and V-6 engines and other engine components. Annual capacity is 500,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines. Since 1987, TMMK has donated more than $44 million to non-profit organizations throughout Kentucky.
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Old 01-09-14, 12:28 PM   #33
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We knew it was a matter of time. This info answers the questions.
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Old 01-09-14, 01:03 PM   #34
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Whats odd to me is prices for Japanese "luxury" vehicles built here are not really full of value anymore, Acura being the biggest offender. They USED to have value but not anymore and now the Yen is trading back over 100 compared to the 80 or so when the Yen Value was bad for exports.

I hope Lexus builds a solid ES and it offers some more value which seems to be eroding quite a bit. Its great news to see the job creation here in the states.
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