Toyota’s investing nearly $400 million at four plants in the U.S. to produce a variety of 4-cyclinder engines, some of which will be used for the company’s hybrids.
The four plants are in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. The Hunstville, Alabama plant will see the bulk of the funding — $222 million. The company plans to build a new 4-cylinder line that can produce engines for combustion and hybrid powertrains.
The company will expand the plant 114,000 square feet for the new line and additional equipment. It’ll be the sixth time the site’s been expanded in nearly 20 years, and it can build 900,000 engines annually and represents a nearly $1.5 billion investment, officials noted.
“Toyota customers want vehicles that are fuel-efficient and electrified,” said Norm Bafunno, senior vice president, Unit Manufacturing and Engineering, Toyota. “These investments allow us to meet customer needs and quickly respond to an evolving market. We are committed to investing in the U.S., and our teams are ready to take on this new challenge.”
The rest of the funds
The company’s Troy, Missouri plant will get $109 million for new equipment to build 4-cylinder engine heads on three production lines, giving it the capacity to build more than 3 million cylinder heads annually.
Toyota will spend $36 million for new equipment to build 4-cylinder engine blocks at the Jackson, Tennessee plant. It’ll be able to produce more than 2 million blocks annually.
In Georgetown, Kentucky the company is expanding flexibility of the 4-cylinder engine line announced last fall to better position the plant to meet customer demand with a $16 million investment. The plant’s powertrain facility can produce up to 600,000 units annually. Toyota Kentucky is the company’s largest plant globally, producing seven Toyota and Lexus models, as well as 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder powertrains.
Gas engines not entirely dead
Last December, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda revealed the company raised its investment in battery-electricvehicles to 4 trillion yen, or $35 billion, with plans to bring 30 BEVs to market by 2030.
Howver, the investment in the four plants should serve as a reminder that while EV sales are on the rise, internal combustion engines are going to be around for at least a few more decades. The news follows the recent introduction by Stellantis of a new line of gas engines it’s dubbed Hurricane.
Micky Bly, Stellantis head of propulsion systems, told reporters last month the automaker will launch a new family of turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engines with lightweight aluminum blocks and pistons, dubbed the Hurricane. The new engines emit less emissions, use less gasoline than larger engines but are capable of producing V-8 levels of power.
The carbon dioxide emissions will drop by 13% and fuel economy will improve by 15% and the engine will pack more power per liter than rivals, Bly said.