Frankfort, Ky: Governor Ernie Fletcher announced via satellite from Nagoya, Japan today that Toyota will begin production of the Camry Hybrid at its Georgetown plant in the second half of 2006.
“It is the dawning of a new day in the relationship between Toyota and our great Commonwealth,” said Governor Ernie Fletcher, who made the announcement at a news conference via satellite from Japan. “Hybrid technology is the future of the global automotive industry, and we are proud that Kentucky will play a key role thanks to our JOBS for Kentucky initiative.”
This will be the first time that Toyota has produced hybrid vehicles in North America. The plant plans to build approximately 3,000 to 4,000 Camry Hybrid vehicles per month. The addition of hybrid production to Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) will include an additional $10 million investment in the plant.
“Governor Fletcher and his team, particularly the Economic Development Cabinet under the leadership of Gene Strong, have worked closely with us on this and other projects in Kentucky,” said Dennis Cuneo, Senior Vice President, Toyota Motor North America. ”Their participation has played a significant role in our decision to produce hybrids in Kentucky.”
Established in 1986, TMMK is Toyota’s largest plant in North America, employing approximately 7,000 Kentuckians. TMMK currently builds the Camry, Avalon and Solara and has the capacity to build 500,000 vehicles annually. Since its inception, TMMK has built nearly six million vehicles and invested nearly $5.3 billion in the Commonwealth.
The production of the hybrid vehicles will take place on the plant’s existing lines, and no new construction is planned. Employment numbers and overall capacity are expected to remain the same at the Georgetown plant.
“Once the decision was reached to make a hybrid version of our flagship vehicle – the Camry – the Georgetown plant was the natural choice for Toyota’s first North American hybrid production,” said Gary Convis, president of TMMK and a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation. “Our Kentucky team members’ hard work and dedication over the last 20 years will ensure that the production of these cutting-edge vehicles in Kentucky will also be hugely successful.”
Jim Press, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. executive vice president and COO and a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation added: “Demand for hybrid vehicles in the U.S. continues to soar. Localized hybrid production will allow us to be even more responsive to the desires of our consumers.”
Specific vehicle details on the Camry Hybrid will be released at a later date. The Camry Hybrid joins a growing Toyota and Lexus hybrid lineup in the U.S., which currently includes the groundbreaking Toyota Prius and Lexus RX 400h. Next month, the Highlander Hybrid goes on sale, and the 2007 GS 450h is expected to go on sale in spring of 2006.
Governor Fletcher made the highly anticipated announcement via satellite from Nagoya, Japan while on an economic development and tourism development trip to the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan.
For Toyota's press release and a video demonstrating hybrid technology, visit pressroom.toyota.com.