CAMBRIDGE, Ont. - Toyota's Canadian manufacturing arm says it's investing $100 million in its Cambridge, Ont., plant — a move that will see it hire 400 workers.
The investment announced Tuesday will increase the production of the company's Lexus RX models, from 30,000 vehicles to 104,000 at the southwestern Ontario facility.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. says the investment includes 15,000 RX450h vehicles, the hybrid electric version of the popular Lexus, and will take its annual production capacity in Canada to 500,000 units.
"For almost nine years now, Canada has had the only Lexus production outside of Japan," TMMC chairman Ray Tanguay said in a release.
"New jobs, along with new technology, is great news for Canada."
Toyota said it is targeting early 2014 for expanded Lexus production.
"This is a big and ambitious project with new technology, exacting standards and tight timelines," said TMMC president Brian Krinock.
"Our team members have demonstrated time and time again that they thrive on these kinds of challenges."
In March, the company announced it would ramp up production of its RAV4 crossover vehicles at its Woodstock, Ont., assembly plant with an $80-million investment — a move it said would also create some 400 new jobs.
Ontario has seen traditional Detroit Three carmakers — GM, Ford and Chrysler — cut tens of thousands of jobs in the last decade as their parent companies restructured in the United States. But Toyota and Honda have expanded their operations in Ontario, Canada's manufacturing heartland.
Toyota has faced production problems due to last year's earthquake and tsunami in Japan and massive flooding in Thailand that cut parts supplies and slowed down their global output, even in Canada. But sales have begun to spring back recently, with Toyota Canada reporting it sold 16,957 vehicles in June, 70.1 per cent more than last June.
Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis said the government is "pleased to see Toyota expanding production at its Cambridge facility."
"Canada is a great place to build vehicles, and we will continue to encourage investment by providing tax relief, eliminating tariffs on machinery and equipment, and creating an environment that promotes innovation, research and development."
Ontario's Minister of Economic Development and Innovation, Brad Duguid, said the announcement "strengthens Ontario's position as North America's leading jurisdiction for automotive assembly."
Toyota began its Canadian operations in 1986 in Cambridge.
The Cambridge and Woodstock investments will bring its Canadian workforce to some 7,300 at two plants in Cambridge and one in Woodstock, where the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, Toyota RAV4, and the Lexus RX 350 vehicles are manufactured.
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