Toyota Motor Manufacturing is celebrating ten years in Putnam County.
The company announced in 1996 it was building a $400 million plant here. The first four-cylinder engine rolled off the line in December 1998. Five expansions later, brings us to today's celebration. An anniversary party was held today at the plant in Buffalo. Today's ceremony was filled with donations to local community organizations. Habitat for Humanity and the local YMCA were among the beneficiaries.
With multiple expansions at the Buffalo plant over the last decade, managers say West Virginia is one of the reasons for Toyota's success. But there is another reason for their success. People who work at the Putnam county plant say they take real ownership here. One of the reasons they're able to do that, is because workers are constantly finding new ways to improve their jobs. Workers say that's part of the DNA that's Toyota.
In the next year and a half Toyota will be working on three new products. Those products includE a new 6-speed transmission plant. David Copenhaver, the Vice President of Toyota's West Virginia operations, also says they'll be changing over their current four and six speed engines to bigger and more improved ones.
Toyota sold nearly 2.6 million vehicles in North America last year and is threatening to overtake General Motors as the world's largest car producer.