The parent of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana Inc. is planning one of the largest private-sector expansions in state history. The company is pumping $600 million into the 20-year-old Princeton plant and could add 400 employees by 2019. TMMI says the expansion and modernization will help meet growing demand for its mid-size Highlander SUV model. The announcement comes on the heels of a record production year for Toyota Motor North America and is part of a planned $10 billion investment into U.S. operations by Japan-based Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) over the next five years.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says Toyota’s $600 million plans are tied with Rolls-Royce’s 2015 Indianapolis investment and second to only General Motors’ $1.2 billion plans for the largest capital commitment to come through the statewide organization since it was established 12 years ago.
TMMI says it currently employs more than 5,300 throughout the state. Last year, a record total of 401,859 Highlanders, Highlander Hybrids, Sequoias and Siennas, rolled off the assembly lines in Princeton, up from 375,647 in 2016. Throughout the country, Toyota has 10 manufacturing facilities, which employ more than 34,000.
The Gibson County plant was originally built for more than $1 billion. Toyota Motor North America says it has invested some $4.3 billion in the state to date.
Last month, the company announced a change in the Princeton plant’s top leadership, as longtime president Norm Bafunno was promoted to group vice president of North American competitiveness at the company’s new regional headquarters in Texas. Millie Marshall, a 26-year veteran of the company, is now in charge in Princeton.
She most recently served as president of Toyota Motor North America’s powertrain plant in West Virginia. "The Highlander has been a great vehicle for our plant, and we are excited to deliver even more of them to our loyal customers," said Millie Marshall, president of TMMI. "This is a true testament to our team members and their dedication to producing quality vehicles."