Gov. Matt Bevin joined Toyota executives and local officials in Georgetown to celebrate the opening of the company’s $80 million North American production engineering headquarters.
More than 600 engineers at the new facility connect the dots between Toyota’s vehicle design teams and its factory production lines. Known as the Production Engineering Manufacturing Center, the Georgetown facility will also help innovate and develop new technology for Toyota’s manufacturing plants across North America.
“Toyota’s impact on the Kentucky economy reaches every corner of the commonwealth, and this production engineering headquarters is just the latest example of the company’s dedication to our great state,” Gov. Bevin said.
“It is my goal to turn Kentucky into the center of engineering and manufacturing in the United States, and this is the type of project that proves that goal is attainable. I want to thank Toyota for its continued show of faith in Kentucky and our workforce, and I look forward to more announcements of this nature in the years ahead.”
The center and its state-of-the-art lab serves as the manufacturing nucleus for Toyota’s 14 North American plants. It became possible as Toyota began consolidating its North American headquarters to Texas. The company donated a portion of its previous engineering campus in Erlanger, Ky., for a new STEAM-based educational center to serve the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region. In March, Gov. Bevin announced a $6.8 million Work Ready Skills Initiative grant to Boone County Schools to reconfigure Toyota’s office and engineering lab into a learning environment. The school is expected to be open in time for the 2019-2020 school year.
Now a core group of Toyota’s North American production engineers will work in Georgetown. By locating the new center next to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. (TMMK) – the company’s largest manufacturing plant globally – the engineering team can gain quick feedback on innovations in a production environment.
“Our production engineers are at the top of their game and help shape the future of Toyota,” said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America. “They push the limits every day on what’s possible in manufacturing to produce ever-better vehicles. And their hard work and commitment to quality shows in the products we build in our 14 plants across North America.”
During today’s event, production engineers showcased the TILT Lab, a space focused on problem solving and innovation, where engineers move ideas from the concept stage to prototypes using technology such as 3-D printers, virtual reality, welders, lasers and more. Advancements made in the TILT Lab will be used at facilities across North America to improve processes and solve challenges. The i-Road, a three-wheeled vehicle that is a hybrid of a car and a motorbike, was also on display during the event.
The unveiling of the engineering facility follows Toyota’s announcement in April of a $1.33 billion “Reborn” project that is reinvesting, refurbishing and updating the TMMK plant. A paint shop fitted with new equipment and technology also is part of the investment. Separately, Toyota in September announce it will invest an additional $121 million in TMMK to expand its 2.5 liter engine production capacity.
Sen. Damon Thayer, of Georgetown, said he’s intrigued to get a look at the new facility.
“I congratulate TMMK on this next step in the company’s multimillion dollar expansion here in Georgetown,” Sen. Thayer said. “TMMK has been a great economic and community partner for our region, and I look forward to the final completion of the engineering headquarters project.”
Rep. Mark Hart, of Falmouth, said working in tandem with companies like Toyota ensure continued growth.
“Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky is the heart of Scott and surrounding counties, providing thousands of jobs and bringing unparalleled economic benefits to us all,” Rep. Hart said. “Their rapid expansion this year solidifies that Toyota is here to stay as long as we continue to provide a pro-growth environment where good companies like this can thrive.”
Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather expressed gratitude for Toyota’s continued commitment.
“We are so excited and pleased with the new on-site PEMC at Toyota in Georgetown and the continued reinvestment into the plant, the community, the region and the commonwealth,” Mayor Prather said.
Scott County Judge-Executive George Lusby noted the company’s history in the community.
“The new Toyota Production Engineering and Manufacturing Campus is another in a long line of quality investment on the part of great community partner Toyota Motor North America,” Judge-Executive Lusby said.