UPDATE | Putnam County residents excited about Toyota's growth in Buffalo

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PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 3/14/19 @ 9:25 p.m.
Toyota announced several multi-million dollar investments Thursday that will benefit West Virginia and Kentucky. One of the announcements will directly impact the WSAZ viewing area, creating more than 100 new jobs.

A $111 million investment will bring 123 jobs to the plant in Buffalo. Putnam County resident Mary Harper immediately knew who would benefit from the growth.

"I was talking to my granddaughter today, and I told her she really needs to apply because she's already been told she won't have a job after May," Harper said.

Harper knows her granddaughter is not the only one in the situation. "There's just not a lot of good paying jobs here," she said.

Putnam County residents, including Harper, think the growth will benefit the county and the state.

"I think Toyota has a good thing going for them with the work force and everything, so bring on the jobs," Putnam County resident John Oakes said.

Oakes said he knows the jobs will be in high demand, so he hopes they will not go to people coming in from out of state. "Let's hope we can keep West Virginians on the job," he said.

Toyota will also expand its building and double its transaxle production. The expansion is part of a plan to boost the sale of hybrid cars with the help of West Virginians.

"I think it should give people hope and excitement about what can happen in West Virginia," West Virginia Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch said.

The plan is to start ramping up production in 2020. Currently, the plant has the capacity for 120,000 units. It will double to 240,000 units with this investment.

Meanwhile, Toyota made another big announcement in Kentucky. The jobs are not coming to the WSAZ region, but the company is investing $238 million in the Georgetown plant.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/14/19
Toyota announced several multi-million dollar investments Thursday that will benefit West Virginia and Kentucky. One of the announcements will directly impact the WSAZ viewing area, creating more than 100 new jobs.

First, a $111 million investment will bring 123 jobs to the plant in Buffalo and double its transaxle production.

"It’s part of a five-state announcement this morning that brings the 5-year investment in U.S. plants to $13 billion," a company spokesperson said.

The money for the Buffalo plant will allow for building expansion and additional equipment.

The plan is to start ramping up production in 2020. Right now, the plant has the capacity for 120,000 units. It will double to 240,000 units with this investment.

“We are proud to add such a significant cost investment to Toyota West Virginia – not only financially but also in adding team members to the Toyota family,” said Leah Curry, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia, Inc. president. “Doubling our production of hybrid transaxles in West Virginia solidifies our facility’s role in producing next generation engines and transmissions that will drive the future of Toyota’s advanced mobility technology.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a statement following the announcement:

“Since my time as governor, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Toyota officials to build on their initial investment in our state, which now totals more than $1.4 billion and is directly responsible for 1,600 good-paying jobs. Toyota’s continued investment at their Buffalo, West Virginia manufacturing facility is a testament to the facility’s hard working employees and the success that comes with doing business in the Mountain State. Attracting a talented and highly skilled workforce is of great importance to companies like Toyota, and I look forward to having them, and more than 230 other employers, represented at our upcoming job fair on Friday, March 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center. I commend Leah Curry and the entire team at the Buffalo facility. I couldn’t be prouder of the work they do or more excited that Toyota is expanding their next generation hybrid transaxle production capabilities in our state. Long-term investments in West Virginia, by companies like Toyota, will continue to benefit out state’s economy, communities, and her people,” Senator Manchin said.

According to the company, "the [Buffalo] plant represents a $1.4 billion investment."

Meanwhile, Toyota made another big announcement in Kentucky. The jobs are not coming to the WSAZ region, but the company is investing $238 million in the Georgetown plant.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. executives, local officials, and Gov. Matt Bevin got together for the announcement. It will increase the plant's production of the Lexus ES Hybrid and the RAV4 Hybrid.

"TMMK’s 8,000 team members also build Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Lexus ES models with an annual capacity of 550,000 vehicles," a company spokesperson said. "Overall, the plant represents an investment of more than $7 billion."

The company plans to begin increasing production in May, starting with the Lexus ES Hybrid. The plant has the capacity of 12,000 units. Toyota leaders say they plan to boost production of the RAV4 Hybrid in January of 2020 with a capacity of about 100,000 units per year.

“Today’s exciting announcement shows Toyota’s recognition and continued trust in the high-level skills and expertise of our fantastic team here in Kentucky,” said Susan Elkington, president of Toyota’s Kentucky facility. “The production changes announced today are centered upon our commitment to meet changing customer desires by diversifying the types of products our team members build here in Georgetown. This is also a further testament to Toyota’s long-term commitment to Kentucky and our team is excited about what these changes mean for the future of our facility.”

Gov. Bevin released the following statement:

“Toyota has been a remarkable corporate partner to the commonwealth for the past 30 years, and we thank the company for its continued commitment to Kentucky. We are immensely proud that the Bluegrass State is home to Toyota’s largest manufacturing operation, and we enthusiastically support this substantial investment to address the rising demand for hybrid vehicles. This significant announcement puts the company in position to better serve its customers for years to come, and we look forward to Toyota, Scott County and Kentucky continuing to grow together.”



 
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