Toyota will soon build a new vehicle in Canada, adding the Lexus NX luxury SUV to its Ontario assembly plants as of 2022.
Currently the factory, along with a plant in nearby Woodstock, Ont., produces the Toyota RAV4 crossover vehicle, and two versions of the Lexus RX.
The Lexus NX and NX hybrid will be produced at the Cambridge plant, supplying the entire North American market. "The Cambridge plant will produce the new Lexus NX, and state of the art NX hybrid right here, supplying the entire North American market," said Trudeau. Toyota will have extra capacity at the plant after announcing in March that it would shift production of the hybrid RAV4 SUV in Cambridge to its plant in Georgetown, Kentucky. Last year, the company committed to invest $1.4 billion in its Cambridge and Woodstock plants in Ontario. The federal government committed $110 million to support the investment.
A new assembly line at the Cambridge facility will be added to build the new vehicle starting in three years. Both a gas and gas-electric hybrid will be produced at the site.
At the Toyota plant in Cambridge for a major announcement, believed to be for new Lexus SUV production lines. PM Justin Trudeau will be here. This event comes one month since Premier Doug Ford was at this same plant, denouncing Trudeau for his carbon pricing plan. @680NEWS pic.twitter.com/N1b2qlWtvi
Previously, both versions of the NX were produced in Japan. So the Canadian-made versions will be the first ones every made outside Toyota's home country.
"It means that Toyota's Canadian manufacturing operations are here to stay," Toyota Canada president Fred Volf said. "It means that we will continue to be a leader in Canada and globally."
The company did not specify how much money the company was planning to invest, or how many jobs the new production might mean when it starts. But in an interview with CBC News, Volf said it provides stability to the plant looking ahead.
"There's many ways to produce more vehicles," he said. "You can speed up the line, you may add labour, you may add technology, you could also do more vehicles by working overtime."
"That's what you look at before you decide [on] major capital investment or committing to people in the long term that maybe you can keep sustained."
The move comes as the car making industry in Ontario has been waylaid in recent months by General Motors's decision last November to shutter its Oshawa facility, and Chrysler's decision last month to cut a shift at its Windsor assembly plant, leading to 1,500 job losses.
Last year, Toyota committed to spending $1.4 billion at its Canadian facilities in Cambridge and nearby Woodstock, Ont. , switching them over to what it calls its New Global Architecture — a status that allows them to be nimble enough to easily accept new work.
The Federal Government met Toyota's commitment with its own $110 million investment at the time.
But doubt was cast on Toyota's intentions in Ontario when the company moved some RAV4 production to a plant in Georgetown, Ky., so Monday's news is largely being seen as a vote of confidence in Toyota's continuing presence.
"This announcement says very loudly that Toyota trusts its reputation wholeheartedly to the workers, supply chain and business environment in Canada," Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, told CBC News.
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FBNs Jeff Flock interviews Toyota America EVP Bob Carter and Hyundai North America COO Brian Smith about auto tariffs at the New York International Auto Show.