Toyota ups investment in Kentucky plant set to make 3-row electric SUV

Toyota on Tuesday announced an additional $1.3 billion investment in its Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant to prepare for production of a 3-row electric SUV.

This additional money, which brings the plant’s total investment to nearly $10 billion, “supports the previously announced future BEV assembly at Toyota Kentucky,” according to a company press release. It also adds a battery pack assembly line to the facility, with batteries to be supplied from a Toyota facility currently under construction in North Carolina.

Toyota Land Cruiser Se concept

Toyota announced last May that it plans to assemble the 3-row SUV at the Kentucky plant, which currently builds Camry sedans and RAV4 crossovers, starting in 2025. To support that, Toyota has entered a “long-term” battery supply agreement with LG. And last October Toyota showed a Land Cruiser Se concept that may preview the upcoming model.

A U.S.-assembled EV also serves Toyota’s “commitment to building where we sell,” the release said. Toyota’s only current battery-electric models for the U.S. include the bZ4X and the related Lexus RZ—neither of which is assembled locally.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky

That said, it’s a confusing focus of funds, as Toyota has continued to argue that it can make a bigger difference in overall emissions by emphasizing hybrids. While the automaker has said that numerous all-electric models are on the way, it has resisted going all-in on EVs.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda recently said that EVs won’t top 30% market share, and that he wanted a new line of combustion engines. However, Toyota’s previously discussed EV production targets run counter to that. The automaker has said it aims to sell 1.5 million EVs globally by 2026 and 3.5 million by 2030. At Toyota’s current production volumes, that would work out to 40% EVs by 2030.

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