Toyota will build the Lexus ES350 sedan at its Georgetown, Kentucky factory, according to Toyota president Akio Toyoda who made the announcement at a recent press conference in New York. The ES is the top-selling Lexus model in the U.S. Lexus also considers the U.S. to be its biggest market. Toyota intends to spend $360 million for improvements at the Georgetown facility, which will start to produce the ES350 in 2015.
It’s estimated that 750 new jobs will be created from this move. About 50,000 units of the ES350 are expected to be rolled out by this factory each year. In the press conference, Toyoda said that the ES is a favorite of Americans. In 2012, Lexus sold 56,158 ES350 sedans in the U.S. Meanwhile, 1.2 million Lexus ES sedans were sold in the U.S. since 1990.
Furthermore, Toyoda said that transferring the production of the luxury sedan to Kentucky will help protect buyers from fluctuating exchange rates, and reinforces the company’s commitment to U.S. production. Georgetown was the first standalone manufacturing plant that Toyota had in the U.S.
This facility currently produces the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Venza, and four- and six-cylinder engines. It has an annual capacity of 500,000 cars but this figure is expected to increase to 550,000 with the addition of the ES. Toyoda said that the first significant decision made by Toyota’s American leadership is to bring Lexus ES350 production to the country.
Last March, Jim Lentz was named as the new CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, USA. This makes him the first American to have this top position in North America. Toyoda also talked about how confident he was in his “new American leadership team.”
At the 2012 New York auto show, the new 2013 Lexus ES350 was presented together with the ES300h hybrid version that will continue to be built in Japan. The ES350 is powered by a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. It has a starting price of $37,265 (which includes a destination cost of $895).