Toyota investing $1.3 billion in red state to build all-electric SUV

Toyota forging ahead with new EV as rivals pull back production

Toyota announced Tuesday the automaker is pouring another $1.3 billion into its flagship Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, where it will begin producing a new all-electric SUV.

The Japanese automaker says the project will bring its investments in the plant to nearly $10 billion.

The Toyota logo on a building

Toyota is investing another $1.3 billion in its Georgetown, Kentucky, plant to produce an all-electric SUV for the U.S. market. (Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images)

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"Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to vehicle electrification and further reinvesting in our U.S. operations," said Kerry Creech, president of Toyota Kentucky. "Generations of our team members helped prepare for this opportunity, and we will continue leading the charge into the future by remaining true to who we are as a company and putting our people first for generations to come."

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The move comes at a time when the automakers's domestic rivals such as Ford have pulled back from their EV ambitions to focus more on higher-margin hybrid and gasoline-powered models.

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worker at toyota kentucky plant

A worker on an assembly line at the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, on Aug. 28, 2019. Toyota's latest project will bring its investment in the plant to nearly $10 billion. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via / Getty Images)

The investment will support the Japanese automaker's previously announced battery electric vehicle assembly in Kentucky.

It also adds a battery pack assembly line to the facility, with batteries being supplied by Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina.

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"You cannot think of the Bluegrass region and Scott County without thinking of Toyota," Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement. "We are grateful that they continue to invest in our commonwealth and continue to set a standard for high-quality, well-paying jobs for our citizens. Thank you, Toyota, for yet another $1 billion-plus investment coming to Kentucky."

camrys being inspected at toyota kentucky plant

Camry vehicles move through final inspection after coming off the assembly line at the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, on Aug. 29, 2019. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via / Getty Images)

The Kentucky plant, a key U.S. hub for Toyota, provides employment to about 9,400 workers and assembles as many as 550,000 vehicles a year, including its popular Camry sedan.

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Toyota also raised its full-year operating profit forecast by nearly 9% earlier in the day, after its third-quarter earnings raced past analysts' estimates thanks to a weaker yen and strong sales of high-margin cars and hybrid vehicles.

Reuters contributed to this report.