Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyota confirmed today the maker will invest more than $500 million in its Georgetown, Kentucky plant to move production of one of its Lexus luxury vehicles to the U.S. for the first time.
The recently updated Lexus ES sedan will begin rolling off the line at the maker’s Georgetown plant by 2015, said Toyota, grandson of the automaker’s founder. The move, he noted, reflects the fact that the U.S. is the largest market for the luxury brand – while also sidestepping the negative impact of lopsided exchange rates that have made it increasingly difficult to continue producing vehicles in Japan.
“It is fitting the first country to build the ES outside Japan is the United States because this is home for the Lexus brand,” said Toyoda, a reference to the fact that the luxury marque was, for many years, sold almost exclusively in the U.S. It has, however, begun an aggressive global roll-out in recent years.