Apr 10, 2017
Trump Takes Credit for Planned $1.33 Billion Toyota Spending
President Donald Trump took credit for Toyota Motor Corp. investing $1.33 billion in an existing U.S. factory, championing spending by a Japanese automaker he's blasted for building a plant in Mexico.
The outlays in Georgetown, Kentucky, aren't new, they've been in the works for years. But the way they're being marketed is. Instead of emphasizing cost efficiency, Toyota is highlighting ample spending and the previously announced addition of 700 jobs. The president has taken notice.
Toyota's announcement "is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration," Trump said in the automaker's statement Monday.
The bigger the U.S. investment the better right now for Toyota. Trump singled out the company in January for its plan to build a Corolla small-car factory in Mexico. As Toyota's North American Chief Executive Officer Jim Lentz discussed setting up autonomous- and connected-car business units in the U.S. with Trump last month, the president cut him off and said the company needed to "build those new plants here."
While Toyota is pleased Trump recognized the significance of its investment, according to Wil James, the Kentucky factory's president, the company started preparing for the redesigned Camry that will be built at the plant during Barack Obama's administration.
"We've been working on this Camry now for over three years, so this is not something that's just brand new and picked up most recently," James said in an interview Monday on Bloomberg Television.
by John Lippert