Toyota makes a lot of hybrids – and sells a lot of them in the US. It hasn’t actually made any of those hybrid powertrains in America until now, but that’s about to change.
A staggering $373.8-million investment will see the Japanese automaker begin manufacturing the gasoline-electric powertrain for the Highland Hybrid locally in the market where it sells the most of them.
That principally comes down to two sites. The engine plant in Kentucky where the 2.5-liter engine is made gets over $120 million. And the transmission plant in West Virginia where the hybrid transaxle will now be manufactured gets $115 million.
While it’s at it, Toyota is pouring another $106 million into its engine plant in Alabama. $17 million and $14.5 million are being invested into its aluminum plants in Tennessee and Missouri as well. The sum brings the company that much closer to CEO Akio Toyoda’s pledge to invest $10 billion in the United States, of which it has now earmarked over $4 billion.
The automaker claims its place as the largest manufacturer of hybrid vehicles in the world, with over 10 million made to date – of which some 3 million have gone to the US market. Some of those will now have less distance to travel to their new owners, which only stands to further reduce their overall carbon footprint over the course of their lifecycle.