Toyota is making a big deal out of its planned $1.3 billion Kentucky plant. The plant will produce Camry sedans and, it is hoped by Toyota, cool down the anti-import rhetoric coming from the Trump administration. Adrienne Roberts reports in The Wall Street Journal:
The investment plan is long in the making, coinciding with the introduction of revamped products in the U.S. The announcement comes, however, on the heels of Toyota facing high-profile criticism from President Donald Trump earlier this year for plans to build a $1 billion plant in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Toyota’s first rebuke from Mr. Trump came in January. In March, during a visit to Detroit, Mr. Trump revisited the Mexico issue briefly when meeting with Toyota’s top U.S. executive, Jim Lentz.
“You have to build plants here,” Mr. Trump told him. “I know I gave you a hard time, but you have to build them here.”
“I understand,” Mr. Lentz replied.
In a statement distributed by Toyota, Mr. Trump said the auto maker’s investment is “further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration.” Toyota joinsFiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and General Motors Co. in making big-dollar investment announcements for U.S. factories since Mr. Trump’s inauguration.
Auto executives have cited optimism related to tax reform, the potential relaxation of emissions standards and other factors for investing. Toyota President Akio Toyoda said in January that maintaining a good relationship with President Trump is critical.
Mr. Toyoda aims to invest $10 billion in the U.S. over the next five years. The 8,200 employed at the plant being revamped in Georgetown, Ky., represents Toyota’s largest factory in the world, the company said.
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