Leah Curry, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, speaks at a news conference Thursday, March 14, 2019, at the company’s facility in Buffalo, W.Va. Toyota Motor Corp. announced it is investing an additional $750 million at five U.S. plants that will bring nearly 600 new jobs. (AP Photo | John Raby)

Toyota Revs Up Hybrid Vehicle Production In Ohio Valley

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The automaker Toyota announced Thursday major new investments in facilities in Kentucky and West Virginia to increase production of hybrid vehicles. Toyota plans to invest about $750 million in facilities in five states with almost half of that going to its plants in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, already the largest Toyota facility in the world, will get a $238 million boost.

“It gives me much pleasure to announce that beginning in May, TMMK will begin producing the Lexus ES 300 Hybrid,” said Susan Elkington, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky.

The facility will also increase production of the hybrid RAV4.

Toyota West Virginia President Leah Curry announces a $111M expansion. (Eric Douglas | WVPB)

At the same time Elkington made her announcement, her colleague in Putnam County, West Virginia, shared news of an expansion there. Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia President Leah Curry said her facility will double production of the transaxles used in hybrid vehicles.

“And I’m also excited to announce that to meet these production needs we are going to add another 123 jobs,” she said.

The West Virginia facility will expand with a $111 million investment.

Workers in the Toyota WV facility. (Courtesy Toyota)

The announcements come on the heels of another Toyota investment in the region that reflects a shift to cleaner vehicles and greener operations. Toyota will purchase power from a large solar array to be constructed on a former surface coal mine in eastern Kentucky.

With reporting from Eric Douglas, WVPB, Sydney Boles, WMMT, and Mary Meehan, WEKU.