The Truth About Cars » Kentucky http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:56:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Kentucky http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Toyota Putting The Brakes On Further Capacity In America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/toyota-putting-brakes-capacity-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/toyota-putting-brakes-capacity-america/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:57:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884729 Toyota is not going to be expanding any plants in the United States, even as they are forced to absorb further production of the Toyota Camry as their assembly deal with Subaru winds down. According to Just-Auto, Subaru’s Indiana facility built just under 100,000 Camrys in 2013, and the Georgetown, Kentucky plant that current builds the […]

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Toyota is not going to be expanding any plants in the United States, even as they are forced to absorb further production of the Toyota Camry as their assembly deal with Subaru winds down.

According to Just-Auto, Subaru’s Indiana facility built just under 100,000 Camrys in 2013, and the Georgetown, Kentucky plant that current builds the bulk of North American Camrys, is the busiest in the United States, turning out over 504,000 vehicles last year, with the Camry accounting for nearly 350,000 units.

With Avalon sales declining and the Venza reportedly being axed, there should be an additional 50-60,000 units of capacity. Even so, that leaves a shortfall, and Toyota is unlikely to increase imports of the Camry – which is built in Japan as well – increase beyond the handful it currently brings in.

The solution for Toyota will be to make better use of their current manufacturing footprint, through increased efficiencies. If Toyota wants to hang on to their “best-selling car” bragging rights, they’ll need to find some solution to the production deficit that appears to be looming.

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National Corvette Museum Makes Sinkhole Permanent Exhibit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/national-corvette-museum-makes-sinkhole-permanent-exhibit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/national-corvette-museum-makes-sinkhole-permanent-exhibit/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 10:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=854401 Earlier this year, a sinkhole opened up within the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., taking down eight Corvettes 60 feet below the show floor. Since then, the natural disaster has proven profitable for the museum, prompting its board to make the hole a permanent attraction. Autoblog reports the hole will be see its […]

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Earlier this year, a sinkhole opened up within the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., taking down eight Corvettes 60 feet below the show floor. Since then, the natural disaster has proven profitable for the museum, prompting its board to make the hole a permanent attraction.

Autoblog reports the hole will be see its size modified from 40-feet wide and 60-feet deep, to 25-feet and 45-feet wide with a depth of 30 feet. There will also be a dirt embankment where up to two of the most damaged of the eight Corvettes will be displayed.

The modifications will take place in September after the museum celebrates its 20th anniversary and the grand opening of the NCM Motorsports Park in late August. CFO Christy Thomas added that if interest wanes or if the museum feels the need to retire the exhibit, the modifications would make filling in the remainder of the sinkhole a possibility.

For now, though, the hole has been a profit magnet, drawing a 71 percent boost in admissions from a 59 percent increase in visitors between March through late June of this year, with no clear signs of abating in the near-term.

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Details on Toyota North American Reorganization: California & Kentucky Lose, Texas & Michigan Gain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/details-on-toyota-north-american-reorganization-california-kentucky-lose-texas-michigan-gain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/details-on-toyota-north-american-reorganization-california-kentucky-lose-texas-michigan-gain/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 19:21:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=811898 Toyota has released a statement (below the fold) on the reorganization of its North American business operations and the consolidation of most of those functions at a new regional headquarters to be built in Plano, Texas. Approximately 4,000 employees of four different business units will be relocated, mostly to Texas, though some functions will be […]

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Toyota has released a statement (below the fold) on the reorganization of its North American business operations and the consolidation of most of those functions at a new regional headquarters to be built in Plano, Texas. Approximately 4,000 employees of four different business units will be relocated, mostly to Texas, though some functions will be relocated to Toyota facilities in Georgetown, Kentucky and near Ann Arbor, Michigan. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and Toyota Financial Services in Torrance, Calif., Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America in Erlanger, Ky., and Toyota Motor North America  in New York City will be moved between now and early 2017, when the Plano campus and new facilities near Ann Arbor and Georgetown are expected to be completed.

It appears that Toyota Racing Development, and the technical and design facilities in California will not be moving. Overall, though, California will be losing thousands of jobs. Kentucky will also lose some Toyota positions. It appears that the Erlanger, KY facility will be closed, with 300 production engineering positions being moved to a new facility that will be built near Toyota’s Georgetown assembly operations in the same state. The 250 purchasing jobs currently at Erlanger will be relocated to another new facility that will be built on the grounds of the billion dollar plus Toyota Technical Center in Saline, Michigan, near Ann Arbor.

Toyota statement:

Torrance, Calif., Erlanger, Ky., New York, N.Y., and Ann Arbor, Mich., April 28, 2014 –Toyota today announced that it is establishing a new headquarters in North Dallas (Plano), Texas for its North American operations in a move designed to better serve customers and position Toyota for sustainable, long-term growth.
 
Within the next three years, Toyota’s three separate North American headquarters for manufacturing, sales and marketing, and corporate operations will relocate to a single, state-of-the-art campus in Plano.  Toyota’s North American finance arm also plans to move its headquarters to this new shared campus.  Altogether, these moves will affect approximately 4,000 employees.
 
At the same time, Toyota will expand the Toyota Technical Center (TTC) in Michigan to accommodate the relocation of direct procurement from Erlanger, Ky., to its campus in York Township near Ann Arbor.  This expansion is part of an increased investment in engineering capabilities and will accommodate future growth in product development.
 
The transition to Plano from three current headquarters locations – affecting approximately 2,000 employees at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) in Torrance, Calif.; about 1,000 employees at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA) in Erlanger, Ky.; and certain employees at Toyota Motor North America (TMA) in New York, N.Y. – will begin with initial small groups this summer. However, the majority of these employees will not move until construction of Toyota’s new headquarters is completed in late 2016 or early 2017.  Toyota Financial Services (TFS) is not expected to transition to Plano from its current headquarters in Torrance, Calif., until 2017, which will affect around 1,000 employees.
 
Jim Lentz, who was named Toyota’s first chief executive officer for the North America Region in 2013, said: “With our major North American business affiliates and leaders together in one location for the first time, we will be better equipped to speed decision making, share best practices, and leverage the combined strength of our employees.  This, in turn, will strengthen our ability to put customers first and to continue making great products that exceed their expectations.  Ultimately, enabling greater collaboration and efficiencies across Toyota will help us become a more dynamic, innovative and successful organization in North America.  This is the most significant change we’ve made to our North American operations in the past 50 years, and we are excited for what the future holds.” 
 
In support of the communities in California and Kentucky, Toyota also announced a $10 million philanthropic commitment to provide continued funding for local non-profits and community organizations in these states over a five-year period beginning in 2017, over and above existing commitments.
 
The establishment of a new headquarters builds upon previous efforts by Toyota to enhance regional autonomy, self-reliance and responsibility.  While the sales and marketing, manufacturing and corporate business units will retain their responsibilities and operating names, Toyota expects that new cross-functional teams will identify and execute on ways to serve the broader North American organization.
 
Toyota will construct a new, environmentally-sustainable campus facility in Plano, which is expected to take two or more years to construct after groundbreaking in the fall of 2014.  Until the new campus facility is complete, initial small groups of employees will work from a temporary location in the Plano area.

Toyota will also build a new facility on TTC’s York campus (subject to final approval of state and local incentives) to accommodate approximately 250 direct procurement positions currently based at TEMA in Erlanger. 
 
In addition, about 300 production engineering positions based in Erlanger will be relocated to a new facility to be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) in Georgetown, Ky., while approximately 1,000 TEMA administrative positions will transition to Plano.   
 
Toyota’s 10 manufacturing plants in the U.S. will not be impacted by these changes.  Also, the following Toyota units will not be impacted at this time:
 

  • Toyota regional field offices and Lexus area offices
  • Operating units in Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico
  • Toyota Financial Service’s regional offices, sales offices, service centers and its bank
  • Calty Design Research facilities
  • Toyota InfoTechnology Center
  • Toyota Racing Development
  • AirFlite Inc.
  • Logistics Services Field Locations
  •  Distribution centers

 
After moving from its existing headquarters, Toyota will continue to have approximately 2,300 employees in California and 8,200 employees in Kentucky.  This includes 750 new jobs being added at TMMK for production of the Lexus ES, which begins in 2015.  Toyota will also continue to maintain offices in the New York City area and Washington, DC.
 
The move will not impact Toyota’s relationship with Gulf States Toyota, Inc. (GST), a private distributor of Toyota vehicles based in Houston, Texas.
 
Toyota Financial Services (TFS) is a service mark used to refer to a number of entities, including Toyota Motor Credit Corporation (TMCC), Toyota Financial Savings Bank (TFSB), and Toyota Motor Insurance Services, Inc. (TMIS).

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Disaster at National Corvette Museum: Can History Be Saved? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/disaster-at-national-corvette-museum-can-history-be-saved/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/disaster-at-national-corvette-museum-can-history-be-saved/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 17:12:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=740705 The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky suffered major sinkhole damage yesterday. Now the fate of several important Corvettes, and perhaps the museum itself, hangs in the balance. No one was hurt in the cave-in, which occurred overnight in the “Skydome” section of the museum. Eight Corvettes were sucked into the hole, including two […]

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The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky suffered major sinkhole damage yesterday. Now the fate of several important Corvettes, and perhaps the museum itself, hangs in the balance.

No one was hurt in the cave-in, which occurred overnight in the “Skydome” section of the museum. Eight Corvettes were sucked into the hole, including two on loan from GM: a ’93 ZR-1 convertible and an ’09 ZR1 hardtop. The remaining six are owned by the museum: a black ’62, the ’84 PPG Pace Car, the 1 Millionth Corvette (a white ’92 convertible), a ruby red ’93 40th Anniversary Edition, an ’01 Mallet Z06, and the 1.5 Millionth Corvette (a white ’09 convertible). Video from the site is pretty grim. The video below, taken from an aerial drone with a camera attached, is a fairly complete survey of the devastation:

Click here to view the embedded video.

The black ’62 and the ’09 ZR1 landed near the top of the pile, bruised but hopefully still intact. The ’93 40th Anniversary looks pretty trashed though, as does the 1 Millionth Corvette. Both have tumbled end over end at least once, with the 1 Millionth landing behind the slab on which the ’62 precariously lies. What looks like the ’84 Pace Car is almost completely buried, and the 1.5 Millionth Corvette appears to have been squished underneath the slab on which the ’09 ZR1 sits. The Mallet Z06 is nowhere to be seen.

From a historical perspective, the loss of the 1 Millionth and 1.5 Millionth Corvettes is the worst part of the accident. Both represent irreplaceable milestones in Corvette history, as does the ’84 Pace Car to a lesser extent. Time will tell if they can be resurrected, but for now the museum faces bigger worries. The Bowling Green Fire Department estimates the hole to be about forty feet across and up to thirty feet deep, based on the drone video. The Museum has stated that the Skydome is a separate unit from the other facilities, and that hopefully the structural damage can be contained. However, the nature of the disaster raises troubling questions about the viability of the rest of the Museum.

Bowling Green is only about ten miles away from Mammoth Cave National Park. Much of Kentucky lies in what is known as a karst region: an area where easily eroded limestone forms the bedrock. Acidic water and other weathering create natural caverns below the soil, which range widely in size. Some of them have formed tourist attractions like Mammoth Cave, but many others are undiscovered booby traps for human development. Once they collapse in, they are difficult to work around. The Museum’s sinkhole formed from the collapse of one of these caverns. Depending on the engineering report, the integrity of the entire site may be called into question. In any case, there will be tough times ahead for one of America’s best known auto museums.

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Lexus ES Production Moving To Kentucky http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/lexus-es-production-moving-to-kentucky/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/lexus-es-production-moving-to-kentucky/#comments Fri, 19 Apr 2013 14:46:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485527 Production of the Lexus ES will move from Toyota’s plant in Kyushu, Japan to a plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, where its platform twin, the Toyota Avalon, is built. Previously, the Lexus RX was the only Lexus vehicle made outside Japan, produced at a plant in Ontario. The move to Kentucky was no doubt helped along […]

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Production of the Lexus ES will move from Toyota’s plant in Kyushu, Japan to a plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, where its platform twin, the Toyota Avalon, is built.

Previously, the Lexus RX was the only Lexus vehicle made outside Japan, produced at a plant in Ontario. The move to Kentucky was no doubt helped along by a $146.5 million “tax incentive package”. The Wall Street Journal reports that the expansion taking place to accommodate Lexus will result in 570 new jobs.

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Amendment to Kentucky Jobs Retention Act to Encourage Investment, Job Creation in Commonwealth’s Auto Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/amendment-to-kentucky-jobs-retention-act-to-encourage-investment-job-creation-in-commonwealths-auto-industry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/amendment-to-kentucky-jobs-retention-act-to-encourage-investment-job-creation-in-commonwealths-auto-industry/#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2012 05:32:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451344 The Fourth of July is upon those of us who wave Old Glory while eating some grilled chicken marinated in Ale-8-One, drinking some fine Kentucky bourbon (straight or as a mint julep), doing a burnout in our Corvettes, and setting off a bunch of firecrackers, sparklers and cherry bombs for our amusement. Oh, and celebrating […]

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The Fourth of July is upon those of us who wave Old Glory while eating some grilled chicken marinated in Ale-8-One, drinking some fine Kentucky bourbon (straight or as a mint julep), doing a burnout in our Corvettes, and setting off a bunch of firecrackers, sparklers and cherry bombs for our amusement.

Oh, and celebrating freedom from the British, too.

Speaking of Kentucky’s numerous industries, Governor Steve Beshear (D-KY) announced in a press release today his signing of a bill that would encourage job creation and heavy investments in the commonwealth’s automotive and parts industries. The bill, filed by Representative Larry Clark (D-Louisville), is an amendment to the 2007 Kentucky Jobs Retention Act. As a result of the amendment, auto manufacturers and those who make the parts for all of those Camrys, Corvettes and Escapes will have greater freedom in seeking incentives regardless of location in Kentucky, home of 440 automotive-related industries and 68,100 people, the third highest in the nation in terms of automotive-related employment as a percentage of overall employment.

“Given the success Kentucky has seen from the incentive package the General Assembly offered to Ford in 2007, it was only natural to extend this deal to the state’s other assembly plants and large auto parts suppliers,” said Rep. Clark. “My hope is that they will all take advantage of it the way Ford has, because it has the potential to generate thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. Such a move would further solidify Kentucky’s already strong standing nationally and internationally in the automotive industry.”

The amendment will go into effect July 12th, and will not impact the state budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

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Who Killed The Corvette’s Chances Of Being Kentucky’s Official Car? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/who-killed-the-corvettes-chances-of-being-kentuckys-official-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/who-killed-the-corvettes-chances-of-being-kentuckys-official-car/#comments Wed, 31 Mar 2010 14:40:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=350943 The AP [via canadianbusiness.com] reports that two separate bills to make the Corvette Kentucky’s official state car appear to be dead in the state’s legislature. State Rep. C.B. Embry Jr., R-Morgantown, suggests that the failure of these bills would be perceived as a snub by GM, who builds Corvettes in Bowling Green. Not so, say […]

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The AP [via canadianbusiness.com] reports that two separate bills to make the Corvette Kentucky’s official state car appear to be dead in the state’s legislature. State Rep. C.B. Embry Jr., R-Morgantown, suggests that the failure of these bills would be perceived as a snub by GM, who builds Corvettes in Bowling Green. Not so, say GM reps.

With or without a bill, the Corvette is an iconic American sports car, and we’re proud to build it in Kentucky. It shouldn’t be perceived as a snub, and we don’t take it as that.

But GM’s downplaying of the news hides the possible cause for what otherwise would be a win-win political proposition.

The first indication that something is afoot comes from state House Democratic whip John Will Stacy, who refuses to explain why the bills died, saying only:

Sometimes things happen that no one has a good explanation for. And this may be one of those times.

Meanwhile, there are real clues to why Kentucky snubbed GM. A bill recently passed, giving culled GM dealers the right of first refusal to any new dealership franchises in their former areas. That bill is still waiting on a signature from the governor. Some 38 Kentucky dealers have been culled since GM exited bankruptcy, and having tooled up a presence in the state legislature for a reinstatement bill, it’s likely that these culled dealers have convinced lawmakers that now is not the best time to be rewarding GM with Corvette kudos. Given that GM has reinstated over a quarter of its culled Kentucky dealers, this is just more evidence that GM’s dealer cull made more enemies than it did fundamentally change the company’s retail situation.

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