Call it a homecoming.
When Toyota introduced Lexus to the U.S. market in 1989, the Georgetown, Ky., plant – its first stand-alone vehicle manufacturing facility in America – was just in its second year of producing the Camry.
Fast forward 26 years and that same plant is celebrating the start of U.S. Lexus production. Today at a ceremony fit for a luxury brand king, the first-ever U.S.-produced ES 350 was unveiled before several thousand proud team members in Georgetown. And, just like a newborn foal at the nearby horse farms in Central Kentucky, the newcomer was brought into the world with plenty of TLC and hope for a bright future.
“This is really a proud moment for us and brings us full circle,” said Wil James, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. “To be the first wholly owned plant, building the number one best-selling car in America, the Camry, for 13 years in a row, and then to be selected to build the first Lexus is truly a tribute to our team members.”
For the past two and a half years, the Kentucky plant – Toyota’s largest in North America – has been gearing up to make the ES 350, Lexus’ best-selling sedan in the U.S. In all, $360 million was invested toward a new dedicated assembly line, adding 750 new jobs. Total capacity for the new line will be 50,000 vehicles.
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