For the first time since the brand was established in 1990, Toyota will begin producing a Lexus model in the United States. Starting in 2015, the Lexus ES350 will start rolling off a new dedicated assembly line at the firm's award-winning facility in Georgetown, Kentucky. The current source point for the Toyota Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza as well as 4-cylinder and V6 engines, Georgetown will benefit from $360 million in new investment and add 750 jobs to the workforce as it tools up to turn out an additional 50,000 ES350s - the perennial best-selling Lexus sedan model -- each year. That bump will bring the plant's total annual capacity to over 550,000 units.
"Lexus was founded in the United States, so it is only fitting that we are bringing the production of luxury sedans for our U.S. customers back to where the brand was born," said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation. He called the decision a major step in the automaker's Global Vision to improve the quality of its vehicles and ultimately "give regions greater autonomy to make the products their customers want and achieve sustainable growth globally." Toyota's 14 North American facilities currently build 70 percent of the vehicles it sells here. Last year, the firm's cumulative production volume in this country topped the 25-million mark.