Japanese automaker Toyota has completed its $1.3bn modernisation project at its Indiana plant, where 550 new jobs will be created.

The project included the installation of new equipment, retooling and advanced manufacturing technologies to modernise the facility and prepare it to produce new 2020 Toyota Highlander.

Toyota Indiana has made an additional $700m investment announced in January 2017, which added 150 new jobs at the plant. It is part of the automaker’s commitment to invest $13bn in its US operations over a five-year period through 2021.

The company has also committed to about $7.1bn of the total, cumulative direct investment in the US exceeds $28.4bn.

Toyota claims that since 1996, it has invested $5bn at the Indiana plant and the total employment is more than 7,000. The plant has an annual capacity of assembling more than 420,000 vehicles.

TMNA manufacturing and corporate resources chief administration officer Christopher Reynolds said: “Part of Toyota’s tremendous success in North America is building vehicles where we sell them.

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“Our $1.3 billion investment at TMMI is further proof that our Hoosier workforce is rededicated to producing safer, high-quality vehicles our customers love to drive.”

At the Indiana plant, the company had recently started producing the 2020 Highlander.

Toyota Indiana plant president Leah Curry said: “This program will allow students to get a jump start on their careers while receiving hands-on training with industry experts and educators.

“By collaborating with our local schools, we are creating a workforce solution―but, more importantly – providing greater visibility to student career options and pathways in the region.”

By 2022, the company aims to align its North American vehicle assembly plants based on platform and common architectures, to improve its operational speed and competitiveness.

The Indiana plant will focus on producing mid-size SUVs and minivans such as Toyota Highlander, Highlander Hybrid and the Toyota Sienna. The plant will stop producing Toyota Sequoia by 2022.

The Texas plant will focus on producing full-size body-on-frame trucks and SUVs. It will continue assembling Toyota Tundra and start assembling Toyota Sequoia from 2022. By late next year, it will stop producing Toyota Tacoma.


Image: Toyota producing Highlander at the Princeton, Indiana plant. (Credit: Toyota Motor Corporation).