Time to Retool: Toyota set to announce expansion of its Ontario plants

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    Time to Retool: Toyota set to announce expansion of its Ontario plants
    Time to Retool: Toyota set to announce expansion of its Ontario plants

    Toyota Motor Corp. is set to announce a C$1.4 billion ($1.1 billion) expansion of its Canadian operations to build the RAV4 sport utility vehicle, a bet on the nation’s manufacturing amid a cloud of uncertainty from ongoing NAFTA talks.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne were in Cambridge today for the announcement.

    Trudeau said the governments of Canada and Ontario will both contribute $110 million (Cdn).

    He said the investment will help secure 8,000 existing jobs and an additional 450 new jobs, keeping Canada’s auto sector competitive.

    “A vote of confidence”

    Kathleen Wynne, currently in a re-election campaign, said the Toyota investment is “a vote of confidence” in the workforce at the two facilities.

    In Woodstock, the plant builds Toyota’s popular RAV4 model.

    In Cambridge, 45 kilometres away, the plant will be moving to the RAV4, after building 4 million Corollas.

    The Lexus RX 350 and the RX 450h are also built at another facility in Cambridge.

    Meanwhile, another round of NAFTA talks are scheduled for next week, and the auto sector has been a major challenge during the negotiations.

    The so-called ‘rules of origin”, with a focus on the issue of North American content may have helped Toyota in the Ontario comittment.

    When U.S. President Donald Trump threatened a “border tax” on vehicles shipped into the United States, Toyota announced a re-designed Corolla would be built at a new Toyota-Mazda joint venture facility in Huntsville, Alabama, to open in 2021.

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