Toyota has just announced that the automaker will spend $1.4 billion to upgrade two Canadian assembly plants.
The investment comes to upgrade the two plants to build the next generation of the RAV4 compact crossover. In addition to an all-new model, the hybrid version of the RAV4 will be built in Canada for the first time. Currently, all Toyota hybrid models are built in Japan.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne were on-hand for the announcement, which will see the federal and provincial governments kicking in up to $110 million each toward the projects. The province's share will come as part of a conditional grant.
Currently, the RAV4 is built at a Toyota plant in Woodstock, ON. With the new model, production will be expanded to Toyota's Cambridge North facility. That facility currently handles Toyota Corolla assembly, which is expected to move to a new joint venture factory between Toyota and Mazda located in Alabama.
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The investments will cover the upgrades necessary to add production of the new model, as well as new automation technology in the paint and plastics areas. Some of those changes will help to reduce volatile organic compound emissions from the plant. Those are scheduled to be completed by next year. The move will retain 8,000 jobs, and create 450 new positions as well as up to 1,000 co-op positions. The majority $200 million of the investment will go toward research and development spending by Toyota in Canada.