NEW YORK Toyota Motor Corp. will invest $360 million at its Georgetown, Ky., plant in a move that for the first time will allow it to begin assembling the Lexusits best-selling ES 350 sedanoutside of Japan.
"The decision is in line with two key goals: first, to serve our customers, and second, to reduce the effects of the exchange rates on our customers," Toyota president Akio Toyoda said in a statement April 19.
Toyota expects to produce about 50,000 Lexus vehicles annually on a new dedicated assembly line at the Georgetown plant, Toyotas largest manufacturing facility outside Japan.
The plantwhich currently assembles the Toyota Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza, as well as manufactures four-cylinder and V6 enginesis scheduled to start production of the luxury sedan in 2015.
Last year, the Toyota City, Japan-based company sold more than 56,000 Lexus ES 350s in the United States.
Meanwhile, the American-made content of many of the companys vehicles continues to rise, James E. Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota North America Region and president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor North America Inc., said. He noted that 90 percent of the parts and materials that go into the Toyota Camry and Avalon are sourced from local suppliers. Other locally built models average about 75-percent North American content, he said.