Toyota says it will for the first time start producing Lexus vehicles in the United States, investing $360 million in an assembly plant it runs in Kentucky.
Some 50,000 Lexus ES 350 vehicles a year will be produced at the site for the US market and the first vehicles are expected to roll off the production line in 2015, Toyota Motor Company president and CEO Akio Toyoda said at a press conference Friday in New York.
The move will generate 750 new jobs at the plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, he said. The plant currently makes Toyota Camry, Avalon and Venza cars.
It will the first time that the luxury Lexus ES model sedan is assembled outside of Japan, the company said.
Toyoda said that the move would help reduce the impact of fluctuating exchange rates, as the high price of the Japanese currency against the US dollar has hurt Japanese exports to the United States in recent years.
Toyota opened operations in North America in 1957, and the company currently operates 14 manufacturing plants in the United States and Canada. The company directly employs nearly 39,000 people in the region.