Toyota announced an additional $1.3 billion of investment at its Georgetown, Kentucky plant today. The brand said in a statement that the investment will be earmarked for assembling its upcoming three-row electric SUV for the U.S. market.
The new investment will also support the construction of a new battery assembly line. This complements Toyota's plans to assemble batteries at its North Carolina facility. With this latest investment, Toyota's commitment to electrification in the U.S. amounts to nearly $10 billion.
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Toyota steps up its U.S. electrification efforts
Toyota has long been accused of being an intentional latecomer to the EV game, with company leadership favoring hydrogen and hybrid cars. It's had a ton of success lately with the latter, but may now be coming around on full EVs.
At Toyota's Beyond Zero summit in 2021, the automaker announced its plan to launch 30 BEVs globally by 2030. One of those concepts was labeled “bZ Large SUV.” The new model for North America is likely related to that and is rumored to be named the bZ5x.
Toyota's largest global manufacturing site in Georgetown, Kentucky
After decades of building combustion and hybrid cars, Toyota is a late bloomer in the EV race. There’s only one Toyota-branded pure electric car sold in the U.S., the bZ4x. The Subaru Solterra and the Lexus RZ 450e are the same underneath but wear different clothes.
The new investment comes as part of Toyota's multi-pronged approach to electrification. That approach includes promoting self-charging hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Toyota will also continue to invest in combustion engines.
Jack Hollis, Toyota Motor North America’s head of sales, doubled down on this approach recently. “Our dealers are not telling us that the customer wants EVs more than other things. They’re telling us they want EVs as a choice,” he said at a NADA conference last week.