(The Center Square) – Toyota on Friday announced it would expand once again in Kentucky. This time, the automotive giant plans to invest more than $460 million in its Georgetown plant near Lexington. That will lead to more than 1,400 contractors from Kelly Services transitioning to permanent employment within the company.
The mega-investment comes just one day after Kentucky announced three economic development projects would create more than 1,700 new jobs and $820 million in investments.
Toyota’s plans include updating the facility to handle the company’s electric vehicles. The Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) plant was Toyota’s first to build electric hybrid vehicles 15 years ago.
In addition, the investment will cover adding a production line for a new engine that will be used in a wide range of vehicles and boosting the plant’s flexibility.
The plant opened in 1988, and since then, Toyota has invested $8.5 billion in the facility where Camrys and RAV4s are built. About 9,000 workers are employed in Georgetown, where 550,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines roll off the assembly lines annually.
“As Toyota’s most experienced assembly plant in the U.S., TMMK must transform physically and strategically to meet the changing needs of customers,” said Susan Elkington, president of TMMK. “I am confident in our highly skilled team members who drive us forward every day as we prepare for the future of advanced manufacturing, whatever the products might be.”
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved a supplement to an existing Toyota incentive plan. Toyota will now be eligible for $212.5 million in tax incentives based on the company’s commitment to invest $2.2 billion across all related projects and retain at least 8,250 workers.
Toyota’s investment follows Ford Motor Co., which picked Kentucky for a lithium-ion battery production plan that will make power sources for the future vehicles in Ford’s line.
Ford, which already has two vehicle assembly plants in Louisville, along with Toyota and General Motors, are the cornerstones of Kentucky’s automotive industry. More than 525 companies in the car-making business have operations in the state and employ more than 100,0000 workers.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said that Toyota is helping the state grow at a record pace.
“Toyota changed the landscape of manufacturing in our state when the Georgetown facility first opened more than 30 years ago, and now the company is preparing for future growth,” he said. “I am thrilled that future will include Kentucky in a significant way.”