TORONTO – Toyota Motor Corp. plans to overhaul its Canadian plant to begin manufacturing an additional Lexus SUV model, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
The automaker will produce the Lexus NX crossover, in gasoline and hybrid versions, beginning in 2022 at the plant in Cambridge, Ontario, Fred Volf, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., said Monday.
“Toyota’s operations in Canada are here to stay,” said Volf, flanked by Trudeau at the plant located about 100 km (62 miles) west of Toronto.
Toyota already builds the Lexus RX SUV in Canada, as well as the best-selling RAV4 crossover and the Corolla sedan. Toyota has said previously it plans to move production of the Corolla from Cambridge to a new plant under construction in Alabama, which it will run jointly with Mazda Motor Corp. The two companies plan to start output at that new factory in 2021.
Toyota said a year ago that it would invest 1.4 billion Canadian dollars ($1 billion) to build gasoline and hybrid versions of the RAV4 in Cambridge. It now plans to build the hybrid version in Kentucky, creating room for the new models that have previously only been built in Japan.
Monday’s news is a rare bright spot for Ontario’s auto industry, which is facing the end of production at General Motors Co.’s plant in Oshawa after this year and the cutting of a shift at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s minivan plant in Windsor this fall. Between them, those moves will cost about 4,500 jobs.
Passenger-vehicle production in Canada is projected to drop 20 percent this year followed by another decline in 2020, Fitch Solutions Macro Research said in December.