Kentucky’s Toyota Assembly Plant Exports to South Korea

by Devin Katayama on December 6, 2011

Toyota’s best selling vehicle, the Camry, is being exported from Kentucky’s Georgetown assembly plant to South Korea.

Changes in global currency have made it cheaper for South Korea to ship the vehicles thousands of miles from the U.S. than the 500 miles from Japan, said Toyota spokesman Javier Moreno.

The announcement will not result in more jobs than the nearly 7,000 that exist at the Georgetown plant, he said. The company’s production line allows workers to speed up production without the extra hands, he said.

“The good thing about the Toyota production system is its extremely flexible. And so through various resources and tools we’re able to adjust production as needed and so more production does not always equal more jobs,” said Moreno.

Job creation will instead come from outside of Toyota’s assembly plant, he said. Toyota will contract with vendors around the state to provide the factory with necessary parts to build the cars.

“There’s a ripple effect where you’ve got vendors, suppliers who hire people to be able to supply to the Toyota plant in Georgetown.”

Thousands of jobs are likely to be created as a result, he said.

Toyota began exporting the Sienna minivan built in Princeton, Indiana to South Korea last month. Kentucky’s plant is expected to ship around 6,000 Camrys per year.

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