Toyota provides $121 million to upgrade Georgetown plant to make hybrid engines

$373.8 million investment in U.S. Plants will help power Indiana-built Highlander Hybrid. | Courtesy Toyota

By Dan Adkins | Georgetown News-Graphic

Toyota has committed another $121 million to upgrade its Georgetown facility to prepare it to produce a new 2.5-liter hybrid engine, the company announced.

The money is in addition to the $1.33 billion investment in upgrading Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky’s production plant that was announced in January, said TMMK spokeswoman Ashley Chatham.

The TMMK amount was part of a $373.8 million program to bring production of hybrid transaxles, cylinder heads and other items at five Toyota plants in the U.S.

“This investment across five American plants expands the capacity for our latest TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) engines, and localizes production of hybrid powertrains, a core Toyota technology,” said Jeff Moore, Toyota’s senior vice president for manufacturing.

The investment at TMMK — $120,960,000 — is the largest among the five plants: $115.3 million at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia; $106 million at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama; $17.05 million at Bodine Aluminum in Troy, Missouri; and $14.5 million at Bodine Aluminum in Jackson, Tennessee.

Only the Alabama plant will see a boost in employment from the investment, adding 50 new jobs.

“There will be no net gain of jobs at the Kentucky, West Virginia or Bodine Aluminum facilities, but these investments will help to ensure the stability of the plants’ employment levels in the future, the company said in a news release.

The engines produced at TMMK and the other items will be used in hybrid models, such as the Highlander Hybrid manufactured in Princeton, Ind.,, the company said.

Toyota is the world leader in gas-electric hybrids, surpassing 3 million in sales in the U.S. and 10 million globally.

The company said the projects are scheduled to begin this year and should be finished by 2020.