Toyota is expanding its Putnam County plant again. This one will be a $90 million capital investment with 80 jobs as the company expands its transmission output.
The announcement was one of three Toyota announced Friday, Aug. 30. Toyota announced it will increase six-speed automatic transmission assembly and machining capacity by 20,000 per month in early 2015 at its Buffalo powertrain plant and Bodine Aluminum casting facilities in Missouri and Tennessee. The three projects will create more than 100 jobs.
The $90 million expansion at boost to Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia will raise total plant investment there since 1996 to more than $1.4 billion. TMMWV currently produces 500,000 transmissions per year. Friday's announced expansion will increase production to 740,000 transmissions per year starting in 2015.
"This capacity increase helps us meet growing North American demand and is a part of our localization strategy to ‘build where we sell,'" Millie Marshall, TMMWV senior vice president of manufacturing and administration, said in the official announcement. "This latest investment helps us better serve our North American customers and prepares us for an even brighter future."
TMMWV employs 1,300 team members and builds 6-speed transmissions for the Avalon, Camry, Highlander, Lexus RX350, Sienna and Venza. All those models are assembled in North America.
"Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia has been a dedicated corporate citizen for more than 15 years, and with today's announcement has expanded eight times since first opening. This continued growth is a testament to the hard-working Toyota team members who have committed themselves to producing quality powertrain at the Buffalo plant," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said.
"The company's continued investment in the Mountain State is also a testament to the business climate we've worked hard to create – one that encourages companies to expand, innovate, and create new jobs. On behalf of all West Virginians, I thank Toyota for the company's continued confidence in our workforce."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller played a major role in convincing Toyota to locate the plant in West Virginia in 1996.
"Once again, Toyota is proving to be one of West Virginia's biggest boosters and economic success stories, and I never miss a chance to brag on the fantastic team workers who make up its Buffalo plant," Rockefeller said Friday.
In May, Rockefeller hosted Toyota Honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America CEO Jim Lentz at a dinner in Rockefeller's home in Charleston and pressed both to add jobs at Buffalo.
"When I first visited with Toyota officials more than 30 years ago, I promised their investment in West Virginia would be met with the hardest and most dedicated workforce. Today's announcement validates that promise, and I thank Toyota for their ongoing support of our state," Rockefeller said.
As part of Friday's announcement, Bodine Aluminum, a Toyota casting part manufacturing facility, will invest $11 million at its Troy, Mo., plant and $1 million in Jackson, Tenn. to provide transmission cases and housing parts to Toyota West Virginia. Bodine's total investment is more than $650 million and employs nearly 1,100 at its three locations. This project will create 25 jobs in Missouri.
Friday's announcement marked Toyota's eleventh manufacturing investment in North America over the past 21 months, totaling more than $2.1 billion and more than 4,000 jobs created.