400 new jobs expected as Toyota gears up for hybrid Lexus production in Cambridge
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 11:02AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 23, 2013 4:53PM EST
The Toyota plant in Cambridge got a shot in the arm Wednesday with the announcement of nearly $34 million in government funding.
Toyota says they will use the funding to build a new blended assembly line, allowing for production of the Lexus RX 450h hybrid vehicle, which is currently only manufactured in Japan. It will be the first Toyota hybrid vehicle to be made in Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Dalton McGuinty, Cambridge MP Gary Goodyear and other officials were on hand at the Toyota plant for the announcement.
“We’ve been very satisfied with our investments. In the past two years, we have begun to see once again healthy job growth in Canada’s automobile manufacturing sector,” said Harper.
Toyota is receiving a total of $34 million in funding, including a $17-million grant from the province and a $17-million no-interest loan from the federal government.
“I’ve got to say that I’ve really enjoyed working with Toyota,” said McGuinty.
The federal funding is provided through the Automotive Innovation Fund, a $250-million program that supports research and development projects in the automotive industry.
Toyota will put $125 million of its own toward the assembly line.
Also covered by the new assembly line is increased production on the current standard Lexus SUV.
Production of the RX 450h in Cambridge is expected to begin in 2014. Toyota says it will use the funding to produce an additional 26,000 Lexus vehicles, 15,000 of which will be hybrids.
Toyota is on track to make a $10-billion profit this year and become the number-one carmaker in the world. University of Waterloo economist Larry Smith says despite record sales, car companies are able to find governments willing to give them money.
“Everyone has their hand out looking for help from their respective governments, and too many governments are too willing to do it,” he told CTV.
“Our governments therefore have very little choice.”
With files from The Canadian Press