Lexus has been present in the United States since 1989, but only now the luxury carmaker has begun manufacturing cars in the country.
The first US-built Lexus, a 2016 ES 350, has rolled off the assembly line at Toyota’s Georgetown plant in Kentucky in the presence of several thousand team members.
“This is really a proud moment for us and brings us full circle. To be the first wholly owned plant, building the number one best-selling car in America, the Camry, for 13 years in a row, and then to be selected to build the first Lexus is truly a tribute to our team members,” said Wil James, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky.
Toyota’s largest plant in North America has been gearing up to make the ES 350 for the past two and a half years. $360 million was invested toward a new dedicated assembly line with a total capacity of 50,000 vehicles. 750 new jobs were added in the process.
The Lexus ES 350 was a natural choice for the plant, as it is Lexus’ best-selling sedan in the United States. To prepare to build the Lexus sedan, team members underwent 1.5 million hours of training, which included trips to Japan for many to learn the art of Lexus craftsmanship.
With the addition of the Lexus ES 350, the Kentucky plant will have capacity to build more than 550,000 vehicles a year, with total employment now standing at over 7,500.