Toyota makes $1.33 billion investment in Kentucky plant

Trump had threatened sanctions if automaker expanded production in Mexico.

Japanese automaker Toyota said it is spending $1.33 billion in its Kentucky plant as part of a plan to invest $10 billion in the United States over the next five years.

The investment in the Georgetown, Ky., plant supports production of the next-generation Camry, which will be moving to a new global platform for the 2018 model year. The plant is Toyota's largest and builds 500,000 vehicles peryear. The announcement comes amid uncertainty over US President Trump's trade policies, which could affect certain Japanese firms' capital expenditure plans.

Trump criticized the automaker earlier this year and said he would impose a hefty fee if it built Corollas for the US market at a plant in Mexico.

Toyota joins a host of automakers including Fiat Chrysler, Honda and Daimler AG that have announced investments in the United States since Trump won the election.

Even U.S. car manufacturers Ford and General Motors have announced plans to spend more domestically.

"Toyota's decision to invest $1.3 billion in their Kentucky plant is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration," Trump said in the statement issued by Toyota.

Toyota said that the investment would help in its new production process that would allow for a more flexible production environment, helping its build better cars and respond quicker to customers.

The Kentucky plant employs about 8,200 workers and Toyota recently booted the count by more than 700 ahead of the launch of the new version of Camry.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar

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