Toyota is considering production of a new model in Canada, Automotive News Canada has learned.
A Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) spokesman didn’t offer any other details — such as which, if any, product would be replaced by the new vehicle — but said the automaker will “make an announcement once this decision has been made.”
Toyota currently builds the RAV4 at plants in Woodstock and Cambridge, Ont. The two plants will also build the new hybrid model, although it will be on the same line as the conventionally powered RAV4.
Toyota Motor North America on Thursday said it plans to increase RAV4 production in the United States. The automaker will invest US$749 million and add about 600 jobs at plants in five states as part of a U.S. manufacturing expansion that now is expected to total US$13 billion by 2022.
The automaker plans to increase engine capacity in Alabama, add production of the RAV4 hybrid and Lexus ES 300h hybrid in Kentucky, and double hybrid transaxle capacity in West Virginia. It also plans to raise output of castings at plants operated by its Bodine Aluminum subsidiary in Tennessee and Missouri.
The U.S. expansion in the United States announced Thursday shouldn't affect Canadian production of the Hybrid RAV4, the company said.
"We will start production of RAV4 hybrid vehicles in Canada from April 2019 as originally planned," (TMMC) said in an email to Automotive News Canada. "RAV4 hybrid vehicles for the Canadian market and gasoline models (including for the U.S. market) will continue to be produced in Canada.
"Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada continues to use our full capacity to produce the RAV4 gasoline and hybrid models,” Toyota Canada said in its email. “The RAV4 continues to be the best-selling non-pick-up truck in North America, and the 2019 model is attracting even more attention from consumers."
Toyota in May 2018 said it would spend C$1.4 billion on two Ontario plants to build the RAV4. The investment included about C$220 million total from the federal and Ontario governments.
“[TMMC] will continue to be the largest producer of RAV4 vehicles for North American markets,” the company said Thursday.
Toyota also currently assembles the Lexus RX 350 and the RX 450h at a second plant in Cambridge, Ont. About 8,000 people are employed at three plants in Ontario.
Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, said in a statement that the latest U.S. investments outlined Thursday “represent even more examples of our long-term commitment to build where we sell.”
"By boosting our U.S. manufacturing footprint, we can better serve our customers and dealers and position our manufacturing plants for future success with more domestic capacity,” he said.
Toyota said it would spend US$288 million to expand and add 450 jobs at the engine plant in Huntsville, Ala., US$111 million to expand and add 123 jobs in Buffalo, W.V., and US$50 million to expand and add 13 jobs at the Bodine plant in Jackson, Tenn. Investments of US$238 million in Georgetown, Ky., and US$62 million in Troy, Mo., do not include plans to add jobs.
The Georgetown plant will have capacity to build 12,000 300h hybrids annually starting in May and 100,000 RAV4 hybrids annually starting in January 2020.
In 2017, Toyota said it would invest US$10 billion in U.S. manufacturing within five years. The company says it now plans to increase that commitment by 30 per cent.