Toyota to start producing Lexus ES sedan in Kentucky | The Japan Times

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Toyota to start producing ES sedan in Kentucky

Online: Apr 21,

Print: Apr 21, 2013

Last Apr 21, 2013

Toyota Motor plans to build Lexus ES 350 in Kentucky, the first U.S. for its luxury brand, as CEO Akio pushes to localize output in the biggest markets.

Toyoda and Jim Toyota’s North American said Friday in New York production of the ES, the top-selling Lexus in the United States, will at its Georgetown, Kentucky, complex in

Toyota is investing #036;360 (¥35.8 billion) to expand production capacity by 50,000 to more than 550,000 a year.

As the Lexus was founded in the U.S. “it is fitting that we are bringing the of luxury sedans for our U.S. back to where the brand was Toyoda said in a statement.

The is part of Toyota’s plan to regions greater autonomy to the products their customers and achieve sustainable growth he added.

The Lexus, a major of profit for Toyota, in 2011 was by BMW and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz as the luxury leader in the U.S. after 11 as No. 1. Toyota is looking to revamp the by making its models more performance cars and less family cars as it competes the two German automakers.

Toyota said Friday it add 750 workers for the project. Kentucky last week it would Toyota tax credits worth as as #036;146.5 million (¥14.6 to expand a manufacturing operation already Toyota’s largest in America.

Most ES sales are “in the — it’s not really a big seller in said Koji Endo, an with Advanced Research in Tokyo, who estimates the Lexus currently contributes about 20 of Toyota’s global profit.

it there makes sense,” he

The ES shares underpinnings with the and Avalon sedans now built in It will be just the second model to be assembled in North joining the Canadian-built RX sport vehicle.

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“Toyota is effecting its long-term of building where it sells,” Matt Stover, an analyst Guggenheim Securities in Boston, who the company a buy. “Toyota not want its long-term profitability to the gyrations of the yen.”

Japan’s has weakened against the dollar and major currencies since 2012, after staying a record high in recent that eroded profit for models. So far this year, the value has fallen 13 percent the dollar, the most of any major

Toyota has revamped the Lexus GS, ES, LS and IS in the past 18 months to help global sales as demand for luxury models in China, Asia, Latin America and Increased sales for the brand, its higher prices and profit than mass-market Toyota also help the company earnings as sales of cheaper increase, Endo said.

“Globally, the real volume are coming from India, Brazil, but with cars sell for under #036;10,000 Endo said. “They to have these higher products, and that’s the role of the

The Lexus probably won’t its No. 1 U.S. luxury ranking, it held from 2000 2010, anytime soon.

has said it expects to sell at 260,000 Lexus cars and this year, up 6.5 percent a year ago and the most since it about the same amount in Deliveries for the brand grew 16 in the first quarter to 56,740, but pace still wasn’t to move it from third in U.S. luxury sales.

BMW and Daimler project that year they’ll exceed 2012 totals of 281,460 and units. Those figures Daimler’s cargo vans and cars and BMW’s Mini all outside the luxury category.

The plant, opened in 1988, is the production site of Camry the best-selling U.S. car for the past 11 Toyota has invested #036;6 (¥600 billion) at the facility, employs about 6,600 according to the company’s website.

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