In a statement January 17th, Toyota Motor Corp. announced it would add an additional $700 million and 150 extra jobs to an already-planned expansion of their Princeton, Indiana plant. The latest expansion is intended to boost the factory’s capacity to manufacture Toyota’s 2020 Highlander SUV.
“Part of Toyota’s tremendous success in North America is building vehicles where we sell them,” said Christopher Reynolds, chief administrator officer for Toyota Motors North America. This latest expansion brings the total for Toyota’s investment in the Indiana factory to $1.3 billion.
Toyota says this latest investment will allow the Indiana factory, which made 362,000 vehicles last year, to increase its production capacity from 383,000 to 420,000. Following falling sales for sedans like the Camry, the plant’s increased capacity will be used to construct new Highlander SUVs, including a hybrid model. The Sequoias SUVs the plant used to produce will be phased out and built instead in Toyota’s San Antonio plant by 2022.
The increase in spending from Toyota is a contrast from reports earlier this week on American automakers Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors and Ford. All three Detroit-based automakers made moves to slow car production for the year, anticipating weakening consumer demand. Toyota has promised to invest $13 billion through 2021, of which $7.1 billion has already been invested.
At a celebration announcing the expansion, Toyota also contributed $1 million towards a workforce program for high school students who commit to a career in advanced manufacturing. Leah Curry, Toyota Indiana plant president, said “By collaborating with our local schools, we are creating a workforce solution—but, more importantly—providing greater visibility to student career options and pathways in the region.”