This investment will boost production capacity by 30,000 RX crossovers to 104,000 vehicles. This boost will allow for 15,000 RX450h hybrids to be produced at the plant. This is the first time a Lexus hybrid vehicle will be made outside of Japan. Lexus is aiming to have the expanded production line making vehicles by early 2014.
According to Toyota spokesperson, Greig Mordue, this expansion will meet the sales demands of the North American market for the RX450h. Lexus does currently do some bridge production of the RX350 along with the RX450h in Japan for the North American market. Once the expanded assembly is operational, imports of the RX to North America will stop, as Cambridge will have the capacity to meet the market demands. Given the rising value of the Yen, expanded production in markets where products are in demand is the logical move to strengthen profit margins.
“This is a big and ambitious project with new technology, exacting standards and tight timelines,” said TMMC President, Brian Krinock. “Our Team Members have demonstrated time and time again that they thrive on these kinds of challenges.”
The staff at Toyota’s Canada operations do indeed have an excellent record, with the Lexus plant having earned an award every year for quality from J.D. Power and Associates in the last three years. In addition to the Lexus RX, Toyota also currently makes the Corolla, RAV4, RAV4 EV, and the Matrix in Canada. The Matrix has 95% of its parts sourced from North America, which gives it a higher local parts content than any other vehicle on sale in America today.
With the hiring boost, Toyota will be employing 7,300 people in Cambridge, which has been producing the only Lexus vehicles not made in Japan for nearly nine years.