In 26 years, from 1988 up to now, the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky plant in Georgetown has built ten million vehicles - nearly enough for every citizen of Seoul, Korea or the nation of Hungary. The first car to roll off the line back when the claymation California Raisins were singing old Marvin Gaye hits and everybody wanted to know Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was a white Camry. The ten-millionth car to roll off the line among the Avalons and Venzas also produced there: a white Camry Hybrid.

Toyota has put $5.9 billion into the site since its inception, employment is up to 7,000 associates and will grow when Lexus ES350 assembly begins next year. Whereas car number one is a showpiece for the ages, one of the automaker's current associates will get to win the ten-millionth car in a blind drawing to be held this summer.

There's a press release below with more information on the impressive milestone.
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Toyota celebrates 10-millionth vehicle made in Kentucky; first Camry rolled off line at Georgetown plant in 1988

Employment grows to 7,000, while investment nears $6 billion


GEORGETOWN, Ky. (May 29, 2014) / PRNewswire / - Avery Bussell Jr. always thought he'd be a farmer. However, with times on the family farm a little tough in 1988, the 22-year-old threw his name into the mix for a job at a new company that was setting up shop 55 miles away – Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK).

One small problem: he was one of over 100,000 others who were applying for about 3,000 jobs.

"I didn't think I had a chance to get hired," Bussell said. "But, I did, and it changed my life."

Now, 26 years later, Bussell – a group leader on the plant floor – and 7,000 other TMMK team members are celebrating the 10-millionth vehicle manufactured at the Georgetown, Ky., plant.

"I was worried about my future. I knew Toyota would take care of that; you have that with Toyota – a job for life," he said.

In a ceremony at the plant today, the "first" Camry that came off the line in 1988 sat next to the 10-millionth vehicle – also a Camry. Speaking to a crowd that included team members, community supporters and government dignitaries, plant President Wil James noted: "Obviously, these two vehicles are worlds apart in many ways, but, at the same time, identical in others – particularly when it comes to craftsmanship and the care and love that went into their production."

James should know. He was hired as a mechanical engineer in 1987, but convinced the company to enlist him as a "group" leader on the production floor so he could better understand its management style – respect for people, consensus building and Kaizen (continuous improvement).

"Many people may be surprised at our growth and the success the past 26 years; I am not," James said. "We have the best, most dedicated work force in the world. It is all about family, working together to make the best product for the customer."

Kaneyoshi Kusunoki, TMMK's first president, had similar remarks at the "first-car ceremony" in May, 1988. "This car is a symbol of our most important company principle – team work. For this reason, I have declared that our first car shall be preserved forever in Kentucky for our team members. It is to remind us not only of what we have accomplished today, but, more importantly, what we can achieve in the future through team work."

The 10-millionth vehicle will have a different fate. While TMMK's first Camry was preserved for historical purposes, one lucky team member will get the chance to win the 10 millionth vehicle – a white hybrid Camry – via a blind drawing, which will take place later this summer.

In addition to Camry, the No. 1 selling car 15 out of the last 16 years in the U.S., the Kentucky plant currently produces the Avalon and Venza. In 2015, the plant will become the first in the U.S. to make a Lexus vehicle – the ES350. Past models have included the Sienna mini-van and the Solara. Since inception, Toyota has invested $5.9 billion in the Georgetown plant – its largest in North America.

"I was lieutenant governor when Toyota came to Kentucky in 1986, and, over the years, it has been incredible to watch and assist in the growth that has taken place," said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. "This plant now has 7,000 team members, and we look forward to continued growth with 750 jobs being added when production starts for the first U.S.-assembled Lexus next year."

As TMMK neared the 10-million mark, numerous Toyota owners shared their stories. One such customer, Victoria Walker of Midway, Ky., has gone as far as to include several posts to her blog (Single Sojourner) about her Georgetown-built Sienna, which has over 300,000 miles and a name of its own.

A sample: "She is relentless, tried and true. She is my hero. She means the world to me because I see family stamped all over her. I ain't lettin' go, and you wouldn't either if you turned the key and heard her hum. Her name is Bessie."

To James, that is music to his ears.

"For me and every team member, that is what we strive for – stories like that. That hasn't changed in 26 years. The key element is that every car is its own entity – one by one. Our team members have done a phenomenal job of being able to maintain that original DNA."

While many customers take their vehicles personal, so do TMMK team members.

"The exciting part is seeing a vehicle you worked on rolling down the street," said seven-year team member Jovonda Williams, an engineer in Quality Control. "I feel like I partly own that head-liner," she said with a laugh, referring to a big piece of her responsibility.

She added: "There is no plan to stop. How long before we celebrate 20 million? We've got a new vehicle (Lexus) on top of our current mix. It is a great time to be at Toyota."

******

Toyota, Baseball and Free Parking
As part of the 10-millionth celebration, Toyota owners are invited to the Lexington Legends minor-league baseball game tonight (7:05 p.m.) where they will receive "free" parking for their vehicle.

In addition to the 10-millionth vehicle being on display, a TMMK team member will throw out the first pitch and be treated to the "best" seats in the house – a pair of actual Avalon vehicle seats.

******

About Toyota Kentucky
Toyota's largest vehicle manufacturing plant in North America, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (Toyota Kentucky) produced the first American-made Camry in 1988. Over 10 million vehicles have rolled off Toyota's assembly line in Georgetown, where full-time employment is around 7,000 people and investment tops $5.9 billion. In addition to the Camry, America's best-selling car, Toyota Kentucky manufactures the Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza, and four-cylinder and V-6 engines. Beginning late 2015, the plant will begin production of the first U.S.-assembled Lexus, adding 50,000 vehicles to its current annual capacity of 500,000 (engine production capacity: 600,000). More than $45 million has been donated by Toyota's Kentucky plant to non-profit organizations throughout the state. For more information about Toyota Kentucky, visit www.toyotaky.com

To view today's 10-millionth ceremony, follow this link: http://new.livestream.com/Toyota/kentucky10M

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 85 Comments
      PlanB
      • 6 Months Ago
      The current Camry is gargantuan compared to the 80's Camry. Just shows how much bigger the segments have gotten.
      Basil Exposition
      • 6 Months Ago
      Funny how that '88 is more appealing than the modern version.
        stefangale
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        i really am wishing that honda rolls out a flashback of the 1999 civic. all models and the camry,accord,mustang. all these new cars are all based on aerodynamics, not looks
        stefangale
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        i really am wishing that honda rolls out a flashback of the 1999 civic. all models and the camry,accord,mustang. all these new cars are all based on aerodynamics, not looks
        stefangale
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        i really am wishing that honda rolls out a flashback of the 1999 civic. all models and the camry,accord,mustang. all these new cars are all based on aerodynamics, not looks
      mikoprivat
      • 6 Months Ago
      10,000,000 idiot americans buying japanese crap...pretty scary picture
        Trevor_k
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Quit trolling. I guarantee those cars bought lasted much longer than the domestics they replaced
        Losferatu
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Yup, that's what the Japanese are known for, making horrible, low quality, poorly engineered crap cars...in an alternate universe perhaps, or 1950.
        Losferatu
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Yup, that's what the Japanese are known for, making horrible, low quality, poorly engineered crap cars...in an alternate universe perhaps, or 1950.
        Losferatu
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Yup, that's what the Japanese are known for, making horrible, low quality, poorly engineered crap cars...in an alternate universe perhaps, or 1950.
        Trevor_k
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Quit trolling. I guarantee those cars bought lasted much longer than the domestics they replaced
        Losferatu
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Yup, that's what the Japanese are known for, making horrible, low quality, poorly engineered crap cars...in an alternate universe perhaps, or 1950.
        Losferatu
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Yup, that's what the Japanese are known for, making horrible, low quality, poorly engineered crap cars...in an alternate universe perhaps, or 1950.
        Losferatu
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Yup, that's what the Japanese are known for, making horrible, low quality, poorly engineered crap cars...in an alternate universe perhaps, or 1950.
        Losferatu
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mikoprivat
        Yup, that's what the Japanese are known for, making horrible, low quality, poorly engineered crap cars...in an alternate universe perhaps, or 1950.
      D210
      • 6 Months Ago
      Proud of you toyota! Great cars being built by Americans. The big 3 are still trying to learn from you! I hope for many more years of success
      express2day
      • 6 Months Ago
      The picture helps show how much Toyotas have grown in size over the years. The 1988 Camry, while larger than the :"original" 1983-86 model, is actually smaller than today's Corolla.
        yuno07
        • 6 Months Ago
        @express2day
        The needs of customers change. The cars have to change as well.
          Losferatu
          • 6 Months Ago
          @yuno07
          The eating needs and waistlines of customers change.
        stefangale
        • 6 Months Ago
        @express2day
        the older cars are always going to be better than these new **** aerodynamic one
      carguy1701
      • 6 Months Ago
      Worth all of $5,000 at Barrett-Jackson 2050.
      AlBongo
      • 6 Months Ago
      Kentuky? At last, we understand the mystery behind all these recalls.
      Av8torRon
      • 6 Months Ago
      It's sad people living in the U.S., let's not call them Americans as no real American would continue to undermine our struggling economy by buying a foreign car, would even consider this soulless, bland, cookie cutter POS.
      timber
      • 6 Months Ago
      Automakers allways manage that their milestone builds fall on good marketing models How lucky of them
      normc32
      • 6 Months Ago
      They are going to build Lexus here? Down fall of Lexus begins.
      normc32
      • 6 Months Ago
      They are going to build Lexus here? Down fall of Lexus begins.
      normc32
      • 6 Months Ago
      They are going to build Lexus here? Down fall of Lexus begins.
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