Toyota Will Spend $374 Million on Five U.S. Plants - Think Hybrids and Camrys

Toyota announced yesterday that its plans to invest $10 billion in the United States, revealed earlier this year, will grow by another $374 million with big spending at five different factories in five different states.

Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Alabama, and Missouri will all benefit. Though it’s unlikely the investments will directly translate to much in the way of new employment — Toyota promises 50 new jobs in Alabama — Toyota says “these investments will help to ensure the stability of the plants’ employment levels in the future.”

At the core of the investments? Toyota is spending money to enable greater production of the new TNGA 2018 Toyota Camry’s 2.5-liter engines and hybrid transaxles. Why America? “The investment is part of our long-term commitment to build more vehicles and components in the markets in which we sell them.”

Toyota sells 200,000 vehicles per month in the United States.

Read more
Full-size Sedan Faithful, Take Heart - Fifth-gen Toyota Avalon Due Next Year; Toyota Says "We're Committed"

U.S. sales of full-size, volume-brand sedans fell 17 percent in the first seven months of 2017, a sharp drop following noteworthy declines in each of the last three years. Despite the growth the market has seen since the auto industry’s collapse in 2009, big sedans have lost 37 percent of their U.S. sales volume over the last four years.

Compared with 2013, that’s 18,000 fewer sales for the segment every month. Even compared with 2016, that’s 6,500 fewer sales every month.

In what was historically a fleet-dependent corner of the passenger-car market, many automakers’ reduced emphasis on sales to daily rental companies plays a major role. Numerous players in the segment also attempted to move upmarket, further away from the midsize cars that now offer the requisite interior volume. It hasn’t turned out so well for some. Remember the Mitsubishi Diamante and Mercury Montego? We’ll soon forget the discontinued Hyundai Azera. The Ford Taurus is likely not long for this market, either.

Yet in a market that’s lost 17 percent of its sales this year, the Toyota Avalon has shed 28 percent of its year-to-date volume, a loss of 7,475 sales. With an all-new 2018 Camry set to generate more than its fair share of Toyota sedan sales, does the Avalon even deserve a place in Toyota’s 2018 lineup?

Indeed it does, as Toyota will launch the fifth-generation, TNGA-based Avalon in 2018. “We’re committed to Avalon,” says Toyota North America’s executive vice president for sales, Bob Carter.

Read more
All of the New 2018 Toyota Camrys Sold in America in July Were Japan Imports

We learned early in July that many of the early 2018 Toyota Camrys available in Toyota’s U.S. showrooms wouldn’t be built in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant.

Through June, not a single one of the 2016 and 2017 Camrys sold in America were imported. But all of the 2018 Toyota Camrys sold in July came across the Pacific from Japan.

Granted, most of the Camrys leaving Toyota showrooms are still old new Camrys, not new new Camrys.

Read more
The Next Toyota Avalon Is TNGA, Assuming the Next Avalon Is

Stiffer structures, a lower center of gravity for improved handling, more shared components, and a 20-percent cost cut are all benefits of the Toyota New Global Architecture. Eventually, Toyota wants all of its front-wheel-drive vehicles to use TNGA as a starting point.

You first witnessed TNGA in the 2016 Toyota Prius, then in the 2018 Toyota C-HR, and most recently in the 2018 Toyota Camry that’s trickling into dealers now.

But beyond the ability to improve existing nameplates and spawn dramatically different new cars, TNGA is also intended to improve plant efficiency. Yet a massive shift at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant, detailed by Wards Auto, hasn’t yet resulted in the efficiency rewards.

“When we change over in the future with the Avalon, we’ll be able to pull that efficiency out of (the operation),” Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky president Wil James told Wards.

Ah yes, Avalon. How could we forget?

Read more
Toyota Truly Believes 2018 Camry Will Do For Midsize Sedans What Tacoma Did For Midsize Trucks; Kentucky Plant Employment At All-Time High

Excited at the prospect of an all-new midsize sedan despite a drastic decrease in demand for midsize sedans, Toyota is ramping up employment at the Camry’s assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky.

With 700 additional manufacturing workers helping to launch the 2018 Toyota Camry, employment at Toyota’s Kentucky facility grew to 8,000, more than at any point in the plant’s three-decade history.

Toyota also builds Avalons and Lexus ES350s in Georgetown. (The Venza, a former Georgetown wagon, is dead.) But it’s the Camry, especially this all-new 2018 Camry, that will bring glory to the Kentucky plant if glory can indeed be brought.

Jack Hollis, the Toyota division’s group vice president and general manager, strongly believes the Camry is the beginning of a pro-sedan wave in America. In an extended interview with Autoline, Hollis spoke highly of the 2018 Camry’s potential, and of the potential for the entire car sector once the Camry stimulates demand.

“I think you’re going to see the entire sedan market pick up,” Hollis told Autoline, before hedging only a bit. “We’ll see a year from now.”

Read more
Highway Star Rising, Act 2: Roadblock in the Bluegrass

Over a year has passed since my quest to regain my license began. A lot has happened since then.

Read more
TTAC News Round-up: Ford Soothes Investors, Dodge Gets Its DiCaprio Moment, and Kentucky Aims for Volkswagen's Center Mass

Ford is doing so well, you’d be a damn fool to ever think of not investing in Ford, says Ford.

That, hiring a crop of cranky old people paid off for Dodge, Kentucky joins the let’s-sue-Volkswagen party, Honda gets a Hoosier boost, and ethanol continues to suck … after the break!

Read more
TTAC News Round-up: Volkswagen Finished Second in China, Big Trouble for Takata, and Apple's Longtime Car Guy Gone

Volkswagen’s chief in China says they’re probably not retaking the crown from General Motors there anytime soon.

That, Apple’s lead car guy is gone, Takata’s in trouble and more … after the break!

Read more
Ford Spends $1.3B on Super Duty Plant in Kentucky So You Don't Have To Wait Again

Ford announced Tuesday that it would spend $1.3 billion to retool, update and build a new body shop for its Louisville, Kentucky plant, which produces its Super Duty truck and large SUVs.

The announced spending, which will create 2,000 jobs at the plant, is part of Ford’s new contract with the United Auto Workers — and part of the automaker’s last deal with the UAW, according to Automotive News.

The investment will create an all-new body shop for the aluminum-bodied truck scheduled to go on sale late next year. With an all-new shop, production of the outgoing truck can continue while the new shop gets online, which could help the automaker avoid another shortage when the redesigned truck hits dealers.

Read more
Chevrolet Finishes Work on 1,000,000th Corvette And It's Pretty Rad

Chevrolet finished work restoring its 1,000,000th Corvette after it was damaged in a Kentucky sinkhole that swallowed it — and other Corvettes — at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the automaker announced.

The celebratory 1992 Corvette had signatures on every part from auto workers at its Bowling Green, Kentucky plant. The restoration project included getting those signatures on refurbished parts, and on the two parts that couldn’t be saved, scanning and replicating the signatures.

The entire process took more than four months, and more than 1,200 man-hours to complete, according to Chevrolet. That works out to about two full-time employees working 40 hours a week, but it’s still very cool.

The details get better.

Read more
Beshear To Transplants: Kentucky Is Not Tennessee

Unlike his Republican counterparts down south, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says his state is not like Tennessee as far as attracting transplants go.

Read more
Volvo Considering Three Southern States For New Plant

Volvo could soon join BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Kia in the Southeastern United States, as the Sino-Swedish automaker is seeking a home for a new factory.

Read more
Owner-Built Engine Program For Corvette Z06 Returns

Buying a new Corvette Z06 soon? Would you like to build its engine? Chevrolet has a plan to make that happen, if you got the cash and the time.

Read more
UAW Faces Right-To-Work Laws in Kentucky Counties

States with right-to-work laws are in green. Wikipedia graphic.

Organized labor has had setbacks as states formerly seen as union strongholds in the industrial midwest, Wisconsin and Michigan, have enacted right-to-work legislation that makes paying union dues voluntary. Now, the United Auto Workers, which has been trying to organize autoworkers at ‘transplant’ facilities operated in the American south by foreign automakers faces the prospect of dealing with right-to-work laws at the county level, in Kentucky. The new laws present the autoworkers’ union with a double whammy.

Read more
Toyota Putting The Brakes On Further Capacity In America

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.

Read more
  • Carson D I hadn't seen a second-generation Courier with a Mazda engine before. I've seen a few with Ford engines. There was one at the Cox Driving Range that they used to collect golf balls. Golf would definitely be more entertaining to watch if they used moving targets.
  • Tassos ooops, Tim, you missed this one. Would make a lovely "Tim's used car of the day". It satisfies all the prerequisites except the wildly overpriced bit.
  • Tassos ASTON AND BOND BY A MILE. While Aston Martin sells a TINY FRACTION of what even the rarified Ferrari and Lambo sell, it is unbelievably well known. Credit the idiotic, but hugely successful and sometimes entertaining James Bond Movies.
  • Tassos 1988? Too young for me. It's all yours, Tim... BAHAHAHAHA!
  • Gray Awesome. Love these. But, if I had the money for a Fox-body, there is a clean '84 GT 350 here for little more than half the price.