Lexus has broken ground on a new factory in which to build cars in the USA. The Georgetown Kentucky facility will be up and running by the fall of 2015. The new line will manufacture Lexus top selling car, the ES 350. Only the RX 350 crossover outsells that model for Lexus.
This model has only previously been manufactured in Japan. Lexus does already manufacture some of its sport utility vehicles in North America. Overall, Toyota builds about 80% of the trucks and sport utility vehicles it sells in North America in the region. Much of that is in Texas. About 60% of all the cars that Toyota (including Lexus) sells in the North American market are built here.
The Lexus ES 350 and its hybrid version, the ES 300h, are two of the most popular premium, entry level luxury cars sold in the US. With 72,000 ES models sold in 2013 the model outsold all of Lincoln’s cars combined and nearly equaled the Lincoln Motor Company’s output of all models. The Toyota Avalon shares much of its platform and drivetrain with the Lexus ES. It also sold about 70,000 units, about a quarter of which were hybrids. Combined, there are few car companies in the world with so much presence in the near-luxury market segment, which is larger in unit sales than the full luxury segments.
The new facility will add 750 more US jobs to our economy. Presently, the Kentucky plant employs 6,600 Americans. Toyota has long had a policy of moving assembly of its vehicles into the markets they serve. Toyota also builds cars in the US for export to other markets such as the 2014 Corolla.