Toyota To Invest US$749 Million In US Plants In Attempt To Halt Possible Tariffs

Toyota USA
The Toyota logo is seen on a new Corolla model at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show (Photo: Reuters)

In what seems to be an effort to block any further tariffs on imported vehicles, Toyota Motor Corp has announced that it will be placing additional investments to its five biggest manufacturing plants in the United States. The automotive manufacturer also revealed that the new injection of funds into their plants will generate more jobs for American citizens.

In an announcement made this week, Toyota revealed that it will be investing US$749 million in five of its US manufacturing plants, which will result in over 586 new job opportunities. The funds will be allocated to boost the company's engine production capacity, along with some retooling to create new lines for its hybrid vehicles.

According to Toyota's North American CEO, Jim Lentz, the investment will hopefully be a positive factor to the country's economic national security. Lentz was subtly referring to President Donald Trump's latest warning to Japanese automakers, which involved a possible increase in tariffs of as much as 25 percent.

Trump recently told Japanese automakers to add more jobs in United States soil, if not he would immediately impose additional tariffs to protect the country's national security. Trump had based his decision on a "Section 232" national security report that was given to him last month by the United States Commerce Department. The report apparently recommended that the country impose additional tariffs on vehicles and components imported from abroad.

Toyota revealed that it has already increased its pledge to invest more in the United States. In 2017, the company announced that it will be investing more than US$10 billion over a five year period. That figure has apparently now been increased to nearly US$13 billion. Since it started producing vehicles in the United States in 1986, the company has rolled out nearly 32 million vehicles.

The bulk of the company's latest funding will be going to its Alabama and Kentucky plants. Around US$288 million will be going to its Alabama plant to increase its engine manufacturing capacity from 670,000 to 900,000. Meanwhile, US$238 million will be invested into its Kentucky plant to allow it to build the company's new hybrid models, namely the new hybrid Toyota Rav4 and the new hybrid Lexus ES 300h.

The new investments will be on top of Toyota's previous plans to build a new US$1.6 billion manufacturing plant in Alabama. The project itself will be a collaborative effort with Mazda Motor Corp. The new manufacturing plant will be the company's 15th manufacturing facility in North America. To commemorate the new round of investments, Toyota's president, Akio Toyoda, is scheduled to appear in Washington this week. 

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