Check out this story from The Charleston Gazette on Toyota adding more jobs at its Buffalo plant
Toyota to add 80 jobs at Buffalo plant
By Kate White
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Toyota will increase production at the company’s plant in Putnam County and create 80 jobs, according to the general manager of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia
“This shows Toyota Japan believes in us and our team members,” Mike Lutz said.
An investment of about $45 million will allow the company, which builds six-speed transmissions for the Avalon, Camry, Lexus RX350, Sienna and Venza, to increase production capacity from about 400,000 to 520,000 beginning in November, according to a news release.
The expansion, which will be done in two phases, Lutz said, is expected to be completed by July 2013 and will raise employment at the Toyota plant in Buffalo to 1,200 and its total investment to $1.3 billion.
Last year, the Buffalo plant celebrated its 15th anniversary. Thursday’s announcement marks the seventh time the plant has expanded since it opened, according to the company.
“What we’ll be doing in two phases is increasing the capacity of the line that we announced last year,” Lutz said. “Last year we added the machinery and this year we’ll increase the capacity.”
Eventually, he said, the expansion will allow the plant to produce 10,000 more transmissions per month.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., first met with the chairman of Toyota in Japan in 1986. Ten years later, Toyota announced it would locate a $400 million engine plant in Buffalo with 350 jobs.
In a news release, Rockefeller said the Toyota plant is “the largest industrial investment in the state in the last 50 years.”
“Now employing almost 1,200 workers from over twenty counties around the state, Toyota has continued to show its commitment to growth,” Rockefeller said in the release. “I’m proud to have helped bring the company here more than 15 years ago, but really we should all thank the workers at Toyota – they are the reason that the company continues to expand, and it’s their dedication and hard work that makes such growth possible.”
Lutz also said the expansion is a testament to the company’s team members.
“Two or three years ago when the economy collapsed, we kept people working…I said ‘hey listen, let’s go and improve things and make business stronger so when we come out of this we’ll be able to grow,’” he said. “Even through a difficult period we stayed on task.”
Other state politicians, including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., all lauded the expansion.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh…@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.