Georgetown, KY - Toyota has announced its Georgetown plant will begin production on Toyota's luxury line, Lexus, starting in 2015. Along with the approximately 50,000 Lexus ES 350s a year, Toyota announced Friday morning it will be adding 750 jobs and investing an additional $360 million in the facility.
The ES 350 is made on the same chassis as the Toyota Avalon and Camry, also made in Georgetown.
This will be the first time the ES has been assembled outside of Japan. These cars will be in addition to the vehicles already made in Georgetown, the Avalon, Camry and Venza. Once fully upgraded, the plant will be able to produce a total of 550,000 vehicles a year.
"We chose Kentucky because of a successful 25-year partnership with the state," President of Toyota Motor Corp. Akio Toyoda said during a presentation via satellite from New York.
The additional investment in the plant will bring Toyota's investment in Kentucky to $6 billion since announcing it would bring its first standalone plant in North America to the commonwealth in 1986, according to plant president Wil James.
To accommodate the new car, a third production line will be added to the facility over the next two years. This is the first time a news automotive assembly line has been added at the plant since the mid-'90s according to James. He said the third line should make the plant unique among other facilities as he couldn't think of another factory operating three vehicle assembly lines.
Though the base platform for the ES 350 is the same as the Camry and Avalon, the new third line will produce the ES exclusively.
In 2012 in the United States, Lexus sold 49,116 of the conventional ES and an additional 7,042 of the ES Hybrid, which was in its first year of availability.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky's James said while the plant will look to add 750 new jobs as the time draws nearer to launch the ES line, there is no set date for that hiring to happen. However, the plant has been in a steady recruitment process for new employees as others who've been with the plant since it opened are retiring.
For people interested in working at the factory, James said: "Apply today."