Toyota Indiana announced plans today to expand its operations here, creating up to 300 new jobs by 2016.
“Indiana is a state that works when it comes to building the cars that keep America moving forward,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Hoosier-built products like the Toyota Highlander are known around the world for their precision and quality. And with suppliers in all corners of the state, Toyota is helping to strengthen and grow Indiana’s economy.”
The company will invest $100 million to boost production of the Highlander midsize sport utility vehicle at its Princeton plant. Since production of the third-generation Highlander began in the Indiana plant in December 2013, sales have been strong. From January through July 2014, Toyota sold about 90,000 Highlanders, an increase of 16 percent over the same period the previous year.
Currently, Toyota Indiana builds the Highlander only in the West Plant alongside the Sequoia full-size sport utility vehicle. To meet increasing demand for the Highlander, annual production of up to 30,000 of the midsize SUVs will be added to Toyota Indiana’s East Plant where the Sienna minivan is built. This step allows Toyota to utilize existing capacity in North America while providing additional flexibility to adjust its product mix to meet changing customer demand. This expansion will bring Toyota Indiana’s overall investment to $4 billion.
“The Highlander has been a great product for our plant,” said Norm Bafunno, president of Toyota Indiana. “Establishing Highlander as the ‘bridge vehicle,’ as we call it, between the East and West plants increases our ability to meet customer needs for all of our outstanding products. This exciting news is a true testament to the capability of our hard-working and dedicated team members.”
Established in Gibson County in 1996, Toyota’s Princeton plant was the second recognized wholly-owned Toyota plant in North America. Toyota Indiana, the sole producer of Highlander in North America, also exports it to Australia, New Zealand and Eastern Europe. The Sienna is shipped to South Korea, Pacific islands and other countries, and the Sequoia is exported to the Middle East, making the Indiana plant a global supply base for SUVs and minivans. Toyota Indiana currently employs approximately 4,700 associates, of which approximately 84 percent are Hoosiers.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc. up to $350,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Gibson County supports the project at the request of the Gibson County Economic Development Corporation.
“We are thankful for the investment Toyota has made in their Princeton operation,” said Princeton Mayor Robert Hurst. “Toyota continues to show confidence in their Gibson County team members who build three of the best made automobiles in the world. We support TMMI and their suppliers as they are invaluable to our region.”
As part of his inaugural overseas jobs and economic development mission, Governor Pence met last year in Japan with leaders of the Toyota Motor Corporation, including president and chief executive officer Akio Toyoda. Indiana is home to one of only four Toyota automotive manufacturing facilities in the United States.
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we have built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.
Created in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Mike Pence. Victor Smith serves as the Indiana Secretary of Commerce and Eric Doden is the president of the IEDC.
The IEDC oversees programs enacted by the General Assembly including tax credits, workforce training grants and public infrastructure assistance. All tax credits are performance-based. Therefore, companies must first invest in Indiana through job creation or capital investment before incentives are paid. A company who does not meet its full projections only receives a percentage of the incentives proportional to its actual investment. For more information about IEDC, visit www.iedc.in.gov.