The ES is Lexus' top-selling sedan, but the Japanese luxury marque has never manufactured it outside of Japan. In fact, Lexus has never made any cars in the United States, one of its largest markets worldwide. But that's about to change.

Yesterday, construction began in Georgetown, Kentucky, on the first Lexus assembly line in America, the first concrete (or steel) step in a $360-million expansion of Toyota's plant in the Bluegrass state that will create 750 new jobs. The expansion was announced last April by chief executive Akio Toyoda at the New York Auto Show.

Once the new assembly line gets online in the fall of next year, Toyota plans on building some 50,000 units of the ES each year. Lexus sold a record 72,581 examples of the ES in the United States last year – 30 percent more than the previous year – so Lexus will either have to import some more from overseas or leave some buyers disappointed.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) also builds the Camry, Avalon and Venza, with a capacity to assembly 500,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines each year.
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Lexus' New Kentucky Home Celebrates First Milestone
Construction Begins on Dedicated Assembly Line for First U.S.-Produced Lexus

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (Jan. 8, 2014) – With the first steel column now in place, construction is officially underway on the future assembly line of the first U.S.-produced Lexus. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) commemorated the milestone earlier today by having members of the company's leadership team sign the structure.

Last April's announcement to localize production of the ES 350, which has never been assembled outside Japan, aligns with Toyota's continuing strategy to assemble vehicles in the markets where its customers live. The ES is Lexus' bestselling sedan, with 72,581 units sold in the U.S. in 2013, up nearly 30 percent from 2012.

Localizing production of the luxury sedan will generate 750 new jobs in the Bluegrass. Additionally, Toyota is investing $360 million in its Kentucky plant, the company's largest and most experienced manufacturing operation in North America. Production of the ES 350 is set to begin in the fall of 2015, with plans to assemble approximately 50,000 units in Georgetown annually.

"Today's milestone is symbolic of the bright future that lies ahead of us," said Wil James, president of Toyota's Kentucky plant. "We're proud of our long history of building world-class vehicles in the Bluegrass, and look forward to raising the bar once again by adding Lexus to our lineup of Kentucky-made products."
About Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.
Toyota's largest plant in North America, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) started production in May 1988. The Georgetown, Ky. plant employs approximately 6,600 full time team members and represents a $6 billion investment. TMMK currently produces the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza as well as four-cylinder and V-6 engines and other engine components. Annual capacity is 500,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines. Since 1987, TMMK has donated more than $44 million to non-profit organizations throughout Kentucky. www.toyotageorgetown.com


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      nocommie11
      • 11 Months Ago
      Wait, isn't the whole point of buying a Lexus that it's NOT made in the US?
      richard
      • 11 Months Ago
      Currency manipulators, trade cheaters, whale and tiger killers, the Japanese know all they have to do is assemble a few cars in the US, and some dopey Americans will line up to buy them.
        Al Terego
        • 11 Months Ago
        @richard
        No wonder Toyota is successful, when there are people like you trying to convince others with your 'insight' about something you know very little of. I can picture you standing up in crowd and speaking... to the laughter and pity of many.
        Jake
        • 11 Months Ago
        @richard
        Is there a bigger crooked currency manipulating organization on Earth than the US Federal Reserve?
        GR
        • 11 Months Ago
        @richard
        Global economy crashing, war-mongering imperialistic, racist, and drug-addicted Americans will buy Lexus vehicles because they are better than the crap the Big 3 calls "luxury". Only the Chinese are naive enough to consider American cars luxurious. At least Toyota will bring MORE jobs to Americans instead of the Big 3 that builds a large percentage of their products in Canada and Mexico.
        GR
        • 11 Months Ago
        @richard
        Tiger killers? Really? Whales, yeah, but tigers? I think you can't tell your Asians apart, fool.
          richard
          • 11 Months Ago
          @GR
          And elephants. They like their ivory.
          GR
          • 11 Months Ago
          @GR
          richard, Congrats, you just proved to me that you have NO IDEA what you are talking about. You can't even tell the difference between a Japanese and a Chinese. Ivory is NOT popular in Japan. How do I know? I'm half Japanese, was born in Japan, raised in Japan, speak the language, and go back about every year! I'd be proud of you if you could even point Japan out on a map. The Chinese like tiger extracts and ivory for "medicinal" purposes. Ivory is also a luxury item over there. Japan has their own evils like whaling, but damn, get it right. Oh, the USA is full of their own troubles... like waging illegitimate wars that cost billions of tax payer dollars and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. Time to put on the dunce cap, richard.
      normc32
      • 11 Months Ago
      Wait! Lexus are not made here? I predict new records in recalls for Toyota when they do.
        marv.shocker
        • 11 Months Ago
        @normc32
        Umm, probably not, smart guy. Camry is built in Georgetown Kentucky, and is in fact the most American car in America. Check out the cars.com American Made Index http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story.jsp?section=top&subject=ami Besides that, the recalls never had anything to do with a mechanical failure of any kind. That was confirmed by independent investigations conducted by NASA and NHTSA...the unintended acceleration was was caused by floormat entrapment.
          normc32
          • 11 Months Ago
          @marv.shocker
          Funny how SUA encompasses all Toyota recalls and like magic they are all justifiable. Rosy glasses or punch drunk on the Toyota Kool-aid?
      eimaj702
      • 11 Months Ago
      I have a feeling this will affect Lexus' build quality and reputation. They just build them better in Japan period.
        animekyoto89
        • 11 Months Ago
        @eimaj702
        Lexus builds the RX in Canada, and I have never heard anyone complain about the quality, nor the finish of that car.
        tylermars.design
        • 11 Months Ago
        @eimaj702
        smh....all the experts emerge..........
        GR
        • 11 Months Ago
        @eimaj702
        The best Japanese cars are made in Japan. However, the popularity of the ES really suggests that it should be made in the USA. It would also cost Toyota less in the long run. However, don't expect them to build the LS outside Japan.
      miketim1
      • 11 Months Ago
      More jobs the better. That ES looks handsome in that deep blue color.
      Victor Hoyles
      • 11 Months Ago
      It's worth mentioning that many Lexus RX's have been made in Ontario, Canada. I know, not the US but outside of Japan nonetheless.
      ChemicalNBC
      • 11 Months Ago
      It's amazing in Kentucky how many people drive Toyota cars and trucks. I'm surprised this move did not happen over a decade ago. Congrads to Kentuckians on once more proving that the pride and worksmanship put into our production can rival any country in the world, regardless to their original origins.
      • 11 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      richard
      • 11 Months Ago
      Do any of these people who buy this Japanese stuff think about the sharks that are caught and had their fins cut off? The animals are then thrown back into the ocean to die a miserable death. All so these Asians can eat their shark fin soup. " Medicinal" qualities I guess.
        holysmoke.s
        • 11 Months Ago
        @richard
        Isn't it noble of everyone in the USA to only eat vegetables grown in their back yard free of any chemicals!
        GR
        • 11 Months Ago
        @richard
        Another idiotic comment by richard who groups all Asians together. The shark fin industry is largely operated and driven by the Chinese. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in CHINA, not JAPAN. Two different countries, you dunce. Do I have to use finger puppets to explain things to you like the location and difference between Asian nations? Honestly, you should stop typing. You look very very stupid to people who know anything about Asia.
          richard
          • 11 Months Ago
          @GR
          Must have hit a nerve with you huh, GR?
      fran
      • 11 Months Ago
      Woah! I always thought ES was built in the states as it has always been constructed on Camry (now Avalon) underpinnings.
      bK
      • 11 Months Ago
      Am i too late for, "Buy american", "all the money goes back to Japan" or "Buy american you traitors"?
      Avinash Machado
      • 11 Months Ago
      Is BD going to apply for a job there?
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