Lexus hybrids will be produced outside Japan for the first time, when manufacture of the RX 450h kicks off in Toyota’s plant in Ontario, Canada.
In support of the plant, the Ontario government is to invest almost $16.9 million Canadian dollars, while funding from the Canadian government will boost that up to C$34 million (£22 million approx).
Toyota will invest C$125 million toward a new assembly line.
The new investment will help retool the plant in Cambridge, Ontario for the manufacture of the hybrid vehicle and create 400 new jobs. As a result, the plant will be able to boost production levels to an additional 26,000 Lexus vehicles, with 15,000 of them hybrid models.
It will be the first time that a mainstream hybrid car has been manufactured in Canada.
Ontario is providing the funding through its Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund. The Canadian province produces more cars than any other place in North America and the industry supports nearly 485,000 jobs in the automotive sector.
Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, said: “Toyota is an essential part of Ontario’s auto industry, and a big reason why the province continues to be a leader in North America for vehicle assembly. The Ontario government is delighted to further strengthen our partnership with Toyota and we thank the company for its on-going confidence in Ontario and its auto workers.”
The RX 450h became the world’s first production luxury hybrid SUV when it first launched in 2005, and has so far shifted more than 506,000 models.
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.