NEWS

Toyota moving Corolla production to Mexico from Cambridge, Ont.

04/15/2015 09:33 EDT | Updated 06/24/2015 01:59 EDT
Toyota will spend $1 billion to invest in an assembly plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, and move production of its popular Corolla sedan there from another plant in Cambridge, Ont.

The Mexican factory will have the capacity to crank out 200,000 cars a year, bringing an end to the production of the Corolla in Canada. It is one of the best-selling cars in the country and had been built here since the plant opened in the 1980s.

Toyota has made more than three million Corollas in Ontario since opening its first plant, but from now on, they will all be built either in the Mexican plant, or an existing one in Mississippi.

New role for Cambridge plant

Toyota says Wednesday's news doesn't mean the end for the Cambridge plant, however. It will "switch from producing Corollas to mid-sized, higher-value vehicles," although a release Wednesday doesn't specify which ones.

"We are thrilled to invest further in North America so we can better meet the needs of our customers for decades to come," said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota's North American unit.

"Transforming our Canadian vehicle assembly plants is an equally important part of our strategic plan to position the North America region for sustainable long-term growth."

Toyota recently invested $100 million into the Cambridge-area facilities, which the company says should add about 400 new jobs and introduce hybrid production and increase capacity at the plants.

The Woodstock plant will continue to manufacture the RAV4, a vehicle competing in a rapidly growing segment. The Cambridge South Plant will continue to build the Lexus RX 350 and 450h, the newest models of which were recently unveiled.

The first Corollas from the 2020 model year will start rolling off the line in Mexico some time in 2019.

MORE:cbcNews