Toyota says it will invest $803 million and add 1,400 new jobs at its Indiana auto manufacturing plant so it can produce two new SUVs there, one of which will be the first Lexus made at the plant.
The Japanese automaker says both new vehicles — which it calls “electrified” but would not say whether they will be pure electric or hybrid — will feature a “semi-automated driving system” that allows for hands-free driving in some situations. Drivers will also be able to park and un-park them from outside the vehicle using a smartphone. Both the Lexus and Toyota SUVs will have three rows of seats with room for eight passengers.
The automaker says the new vehicles will be introduced at a later date, the additions will help the company move closer to its goal of “carbon neutrality” by 2050.
Toyota said that since the first vehicle rolled off the production line at the Indiana plant in 1998, the company has invested $6.6 billion in the Princeton site. The plant currently assembles the all-hybrid Sienna minivan, Highlander Hybrid SUV and Sequoia full-size SUV at the site, which can put out more than 420,000 vehicles annually.
Not including the new jobs, Toyota currently employs 7,000 at the Indiana site and about 36,000 in the U.S.