Toyota Motor will invest $10 billion in the U.S. over five years to produce new models and boost productivity, the company president announced Monday, amid growing pressure from President-elect Donald Trump to create jobs in America.
President Akio Toyoda spoke to reporters at the North American International Auto Show here, where he unveiled the new Camry sedan. Toyota plans to begin manufacturing the new model in Kentucky by the end of the year.
Highlighting employment efforts, he stressed that the Japanese automaker has 136,000 workers in the U.S. and has invested $22 billion in the country during the past 60 years.
Part of the investment will fund setting up production facilities and automotive molds for vehicles developed under the Toyota New Global Architecture initiative, such as the new Camry. The company will also work to make its existing lines more competitive. In addition, Toyota is building its new North American headquarters in Texas and will bolster capital investment at a subsidiary developing artificial intelligence.
Asked whether the $10 billion plan would satisfy Trump, Bob Carter, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said the group was investing in the future. Carter said no specific decision has been reached on increasing employment, and that Toyota will not change its plan for a new plant in Mexico.
Trump slammed Toyota on Twitter last week over its new factory under construction in Mexico, threatening to impose border taxes on the company’s products.
Meanwhile, Honda Motor President Takahiro Hachigo said the company is not planning to change its production plans in Mexico. “We will resume our U.S. business as it is,” Hachigo also said.
Asked about the possibility of Nissan Motor closing its Mexican plant, CEO Carlos Ghosn said the carmaker has no intention of doing so. Regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, Ghosn said the company will address the situation if there are any changes to the agreement.