By on January 10, 2020

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) has announced the start of production of the new RAV4, the best selling vehicle in America that isn’t a pickup. Officially, TMMK is handling the hybrid version while other sites — like Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) — takes care of the non-hybridized crossover.

Considering the RAV4 Hybrid just had its best sales year on record, moving 92,525 units in 2019, Toyota’s probably feeling pretty good about its decision. Total U.S. deliveries of the RAV4 hit 448,068 last year, marking another sales record for the brand. The redesigned models (introduced late in 2018) are already everywhere, making one grateful that they don’t necessitate the same cordial acknowledgement expected from motorcyclists and Jeep Wrangler owners. Your arm would be exhausted before making it out of the driveway. 

“We are excited to see the past nine months of preparation come to life with the completion of our first Kentucky-built 2020 RAV4 Hybrid,” TMMK President Susan Elkington said in a statement. “This milestone would not have been possible without the hard work of our dedicated team members and our recent investments. We are proud to offer an alternative powertrain for each of the products we currently build and couldn’t be happier to add the popular RAV4 Hybrid to that list.”

TMMK specializes in hybrids and currently produces the Toyota Camry, Toyota Avalon, Lexus ES 350, and each of those models’ hybrid variants. It’s Toyota’s largest manufacturing plant, costing over $7 billion thus far and hosting over 8,000 employees.

Upon announcing production of the RAV4 Hybrid, Toyota also reiterated its plan to ensure an electrified option for all Toyota/Lexus vehicles by 2025. It noted around 13 percent of its U.S. volume is already attributable to plug-in or hybrid vehicles, and hopes to bring that number up through 2020.

[Images: Toyota]

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55 Comments on “Kentucky Kicks Off Production of Toyota RAV4 Hybrid...”


  • avatar
    slavuta

    Don’t buy one of the first 10K batch

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    WOW! Such amazing new.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Will this plant also be producing the new (neutered) Highlander Hybrid, which uses nearly the same powertrain as the RAV4?

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    They are going to sell all they can produce at this plant. Here-where I live paying sticker for these (or very close to it) is the only way-for now you are going to own one.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      I’m almost positive all auto plants sell all of what they produce.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Yea, but some are idling shift to do so

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Perhaps you haven’t seen the huge sales of surplus vehicles that GM and FCA are shoving out the door for 30% off msrp.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          That’s one hell of an opportunity to get transportation at a reasonable cost, if you need it.

          A guy I met recently drives a 2019 Titan, bought in Las Cruces, NM, last month, and he told me he didn’t care what brand he drove as long as it was a four-door truck with as many bells and whistles at the lowest price possible.

          So he got his top-of-the-line Pro4X at $10,500 off MSRP plus an additional $500 off for being a retired Army guy.

          Talk about bells and whistles! At a lower price than most run of the mill Hecho en Mexico Silverado trucks while the Titan and Tundra are actually Made in the USA!

          I say, that’s a great deal, if you need transportation.

          • 0 avatar
            CKNSLS Sierra SLT

            highdesertcat-

            I don’t know how a Titan compares MSRP-wise. But you can get at least that off a domestic truck. And another two to five grand more depending on when you buy it.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The Titan and Tundra don’t have LTZ and High Country pricing, so MSRP wise a full-pop Titan or Tundra tops out below $60K.

            But IMO Titan and Tundra give you more for the same money as F150, Silverado and RAM, at least in my region.

            See nissanoflascruces.com to see how prices compare to your area.

            I’ve noticed several contractors/workmen who have switched over to Titan and Tundra, primarily because of price. F150, Silverado and RAM dealers don’t always pass the savings on to the buyer.

            And this may vary from region to region. In my region F150, Silverado and RAM will nickel and dime the buyer to death with their extra charges. Titan and Tundra (see vescovotoyota.com) do not.

            And Titan and Tundra are Made in America. That means supporting Americans, who build trucks for Americans, assembled by Americans.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            HighDesertcat

            GM’s Fullsized pickup factories in Flint MI and Fort Wayne IN produce more trucks than Toyota & Nissan combined.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Peter Gazis, in my region a lot of VIN begin with 3, Hecho en Mexico.

            Here’s a quick synopsis of the first character of a the VIN.

            1, 4, or 5 United States
            2 Canada
            3A-3W Mexico
            J Japan
            KL-KR Korea (South)
            W Germany (formerly West Germany)
            L China (Mainland)
            MA-ME India
            NL-NR Turkey
            ZA-ZR Italy

            Buying a car with a VIN that starts with other than 1, 4 or 5 means that an American is subsidizing the workers in another country, not America.

            Why would any Red, White and Blue flag-waving American want to buy a vehicle made in a foreign country by other than Americans?

            I can understand Canadians wanting to buy a vehicle with a VIN that starts with a 2. They should! They’re supporting their own.

            Americans have a choice! So for Americans who have had all the fun they can stand with Ford, GM or Fiatsler pickup trucks, there are Titan and Tundra, two trucks Made in America, by Americans, for Americans.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            HighDesertcat

            If you didn’t want stuff made in Mexico. You shouldn’t have moved a few miles from the boarder (El Paso)

            Here around Chicago.most GM trucks are coming from Michigan & Indiana. With a good number of those bought by citizens who migrated here from Mexico. I know a few people personally who left their trucks on a family ranch in Mexico.

            Nissan and Toyota aren’t American. They will never be American. During the Great Recession, they kept their Japanese workers working while laying off Americans.

          • 0 avatar
            bts

            If you want to support America, buy an American product. They pay their taxes in America.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I’ve paid lots more for new US made Ford trucks, Ranger to F-550, because it’s self serving, keeping my dollars floating as local as possible.

            My competitors went the cheapest route, with import commercial trucks, UD, Fuso, Hino, Navistar, etc., although mostly Canada and Mexico made.

            In the end I’ve paid far less for my new and used parts, and got them much quicker. Running trucks commercially, break downs and repairs are one of your biggest expenses.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Perfect! Don’t buy Dodge or Ford. Buy 1,4,5 – Exactly. Personally, I like J. But don’t pay attention.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    When I went to the new car show, it seemed like most of the “American” brands were built in Canada, Mexico, and China and the “foreign” names were built in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      indi500fan-

      Some people feel like they are in a different country when visiting “The South”…..

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @indi500fan – Ironically most still call a Mexican built Ram a domestic and a Texas built Tundra an import .
      The “profits leave the country’ argument surfaces but doesn’t carry much weight when discussing multinational companies. A factory on domestic soil carries much more benefit to that country than the location of the head office.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The auto manufacturing landscape might be completely different if “American” automakers weren’t running away from unions, which “Import” (offshore based) automakers don’t have to deal with, and building autos in Japan isn’t so cost effective.

        Yes we get Japan built, imported “imports”, but they’re usually not the cheapest on the lot.

        Also Ram is a big seller in Mexico, while the Tundra is not.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    It may be time to concede that fascist meddling in the form of CAFE regulations has made full sized trucks today’s full sized cars. Ergo, it really doesn’t mean much to be the best-selling non-truck.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      I really would love to hear in political science terms, exactly how CAFE regs constitute “fascism”.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      I hated fascist CAFE until I learned that it had helped create the pickup truck nirvana we are currently experiencing. Unintended consequences can be awesome. Still, I hope the current administration will gut it or, better yet, treat it like they just did General Salami.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Pickups have always been the coolest thing ever, long before CAFE was hatched. Well except for custom vans (not the shoes, but they’re OK too).

        Except to own a (personal or work use) pickup, you also probably owned one or more of the following: Station wagon, sedan, Jeep, muscle car, customized, luxury or other.

        Today a pickup can do most any task you can think of. Or just showing off.

        But its the “work use” that lead to the CAFE (Gas Guzzler) “exemption”. Since it would be too time consuming to separate the personal users, besides those that blur the line, the exemption simply encompasses all pickups.

        But they all pay for “commercial plates”, then use them as you wish.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    T.Atlas

    With your track record of political commentary, that you would accuse the other side of fascism shows an apparent lack of understanding of what fascism really is. I would suggest you read the recently published, “How Fascism Works” by Jason Spencer. However, I do this with some hesitation because you may attempt to adopt some of what you will learn to your own cause of supporting your idol.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Do I want a command economy?
      Do I think the government knows better what people need than they do?
      Do I use identity politics to divide and concur the populace?
      Do I reject Christianity because it creates inconvenient moral obstacles to my vile ambitions?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “Do I want a command economy?”

        Trump, with his active meddling in favor of or opposition to all sorts of sectors, has gone far farther in that direction than any of his Democratic or Republican predecessors within my lifetime.

        “Do I think the government knows better what people need than they do?”

        Apparently Trump does; he’s decided that no one should have Champagne or Stilton cheese.

        “Do I use identity politics to divide and [I assume you mean “conquer”] the populace?”

        Not many people are better at that than open white nationalist Stephen Miller, Trump’s top policy aide.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Do you really believe any of that? The previous regime sought to bankrupt entire domestic industries, and you’re worried about French wine imports? You have no sense of proportion or empathy and have been rendered your own worst enemy.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          ..“Do I use identity politics to divide and [I assume you mean “conquer”] the populace?”<<

          sorry but that's been Dem Politics 101 for decades, actually, since before the Civil War

          pretty much you accuse Trump of doing what Dems have always done – I mean anyone as obtuse as you should recognize the BO upended the entire auto industry to "save it" and in the process stole the bond equity of millions in favor of giving it to Dem donors, tried to shut down the entire coal industry and transform the energy sector into the green nonsense that failed for everyone but his donors

          yes, you have BO and the Dems pegged, not Trump

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          WOW, the TDS is strong.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            dal gets it. Thornmark is in fantasyland.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Sorry Todd, but I can’t accept the behavior of this idiot. Ronald Reagan he isn’t. Even if you think his “policy” is just great, his behavior is that of a child. Listen to the way he speaks, acts, and is viewed world wide (yeah, I know you certainly don’t care about that part for sure). He is an utter embarrassment and his complete disregard for the Constitution is disgraceful. I have no interest in challenging people regarding their political alignment – we are all entitled to our own positions – but his behavior is reprehensible. How any intelligent, educated person can consider him to be a good representative of America is beyond me. And while you might think assassinating an admittedly horrible person on another country’s soil is good policy, keep that in mind when Iran strikes at American interests through their proxy fighters. It will happen and they will take their time as all terrorist do. Americans are less safe, not more. Already, a plane full of people have paid the first price. But hey, there were no Americans on board so who cares…right Todd?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I was reading your comment, thinking about a reasonable response to explain to you why Reagan was treated as he was and could behave as he did, but then I came to you blaming Trump for Iran shooting down a Ukrainian airliner with the money they split with Obama and Kerry and I realized that you’re far beyond redemption.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    T.Atlas

    With your track record of political commentary, that you would accuse the other side of fascism shows an apparent lack of understanding of what fascism really is. I would suggest you read the recently published, “How Fascism Works” by Jason Spencer. However, I do this with some hesitation because you may attempt to adopt some of what you may learn to your own cause of supporting your idol.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    So, back on topic. If given the choice, would anyone here care to specify which factory they would have their hybrid RAV4 built, the one in Aichi Japan or the one in Kentucky?

    • 0 avatar
      jimmy2x

      Good question. My 2010 ES was made in Japan. ES production moved to Kentucky some years back. Have not read anything that would indicate reduced quality. Mine has just under 100,000 miles and has been flawless with no issues other than normal maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      American made is important enough to me that I’ll accept a slightly worse product. Toyota’s reputation to me is strong enough that I expect the Kentucky edition to be only slightly worse.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The reality is that the quality of the product has more to do with the company’s requirement for it as apposed to where the actual assembly is done. Toyotas from the 2000s were certainly assembled with lower-quality parts than in the mid 90s and the designs were cheapened as well. I see this first hand in my father’s Avalon, though reliability was still very good. This was a conscious decision on Toyota’s part to lower the price for market share. And with Toyota’s excellent reputation for reliability, this worked for quite a while. But the market catches on. During Peak Toyota, you paid list or damn near for anything with the Big T on it. That disappeared once the public caught on to what Toyota was doing. To be fair, even Mercedes did this, though Toyota kept the reliability in check whereas MB became one of the most unreliable marques on the market.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          It was frames bought from UAW-afflicted Dana-Corp that were sabotaged by skipped rust-resistance steps and falsified reports documenting work that hadn’t actually been done. Maybe Toyota would have a meaningful piece of the truck market if not for UAW sabotage of American built trucks. It should make you think.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            You are correct regarding the truck frames. I was not thinking about that particular issue, but Toyota did step up with repairs, or replacements – something that Detroit never did unless forced to. That behavior feed millions into Japan, Inc. I was referring to notable decline in material quality and design. Dad’s Avalon has a lot of cheap materials and corner cutting on on design that put assembly speed and profit margin over everything else. Details were clearly not to the level that once defined the manufacturer’s reputation. You can get that from Lexus today, but Toyota once had it across the board. With the reliability of today’s vehicles there is no reason to auto-reflex directly to the Toyota store, something that “Japan only” buyers did for a couple of decades. Toyota gave that up for market share.

            One of the big auto mags had a story about the start of this cost cutting regarding the then-new 1997 Camry which was designed during a period of time when currency issues were expected to put them at a significant disadvantage, despite the US assembly for many Camrys. They went over a whole host of things such as cutting the quality of rear-seat material, reducing engineering details such as triple seals, and cutting the complexity of various assemblies. That is why that generation has a front grill that is more akin to a A/C diffuser than an automotive grill. They touted the vast reduction on the number of parts and time to make tht front end as an example of the new philosophy. They also seem to have cut on long term appearance durability as well. Today, the appearance of 92-96 generation cars is far better than the next generation or two…seems Toyota drank some of Detroit’s koolaid.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Takata. Seat belts first, then air bags. And, Honda was complicit. And now, there’s a third round of air bag recalls.

            And it would appear from your post that Toyota doesn’t do inspection upon receipt of parts, either. Or Toyota’s US workforce is negligent.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Is dissembling a skill listed on your resume? Rationalizing the war that GM(now Chinese) and Chrysler(Italian? French? Belgian? Who knows?) lost is going to give you great comfort. You can always still buy a Ford! They’ve survived building garbage longer than any other car company in history.

  • avatar
    TimK

    Has Toyota changed the drivetrain, specifically the transmission, in these new RAV4s? I recall reading somewhere that they planned to use a new (planetary?) drive different from the CVT.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    highdesertcat-

    Your area appears to be unique-

    https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/mark-phelan/2020/01/02/best-selling-vehicle-state-ford-f-series/2772734001/

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    About time Toyota started producing some RAV4s in the U.S.
    Sold 450,000 of them here last year.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I think the reason for the article is that the hybrid RAV4 is beginning US assembly. Plenty of RAV4s have been built here, unlike Buick Envisions.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        ToddAtlasF1

        The Buick Envision was designed in Michigan by Real Americans
        It’s built in China by future Americans

        The RAV4 was designed in Japan by people that don’t like America. Wan’t to see us all driving little penalty boxes and living in Apartments the size of shoeboxes. There are a few RAV4s built in Canada but most are made in Japan.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Are your checks in dollars or yuan? The Envision is based on a design from Opel in Germany. Maybe Opel is a future American market car company, to be peddled by Fiat. Does your Chinese employer really think it is worth your time pretending that the Chinese like us more than the Japanese do? They must really think we’re stupid.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            ToddAtlasF1

            Here in America we get paid with anything spend, eat, drink or f**k.
            The Envision was designed in Detroit. Opel doesn’t have anything that big in their line up.
            The Chinese bought 3 million GM vehicles last year. Lots of American companies do very well in China. As the Chinese people get richer they are demanding more rights from their government. Traveling more outside China and buying more imported goods.
            The Japanese are a bunch of xenophobic racist pricks. Who shun anything imported even when it’s made by a Japanese company. They would rather hunt whales to extinction than buy American beef. I gave them enough of my money in the ‘80s & ‘90s buying cheap electronics. Most of which from companies that are now broke.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            When you’re not shilling here, is your day job committing cybercrimes for the ChiComs? That’s what they do every day, or don’t you know? You should change your handle to Bagdad Bob.

        • 0 avatar
          JD-Shifty

          looks like the USA under the Trump Rally formula is even worse

  • avatar
    conundrum

    “In September 2019, Teknikens Värld ran both the gasoline and hybrid versions of the RAV4 on the moose test, where both vehicles failed. The testers noted “dangerous behavior” on the cone course, and that the electronic stability control “engaged very late”, causing both vehicles to hop up on their outer tires multiple times during the test.”

    And it’s a winnah!

  • avatar
    ajla

    This site is turning into a sh*tshow.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    ajla

    I can’t disagree with you. You have the same two dozen players sprouting their “agenda” over and over again.

    It’s time for those who mange this site to wipeout all the users names-and wait awhile before allowing any more to “sign up” for a new user name.

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