Construction began this week on a new assembly line in Georgetown for the first U.S.-produced Lexus. Members of the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky leadership team signed a steel column placed at the site Thursday.
Toyota is investing $360 million in the assembly line, which is expected to create 750 new jobs; the Georgetown plant already employs 6,600 full-time workers and makes the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza plus four-cylinder and V-6 engines and other engine components.
Production of the Lexus ES 350 is set to begin in fall 2015, with plans to assemble about 50,000 units in Georgetown annually.
"Today's milestone is symbolic of the bright future that lies ahead of us," Wil James, president of Toyota's Kentucky plant, said Thursday. "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."
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The ES is Lexus' best-selling sedan, with 72,581 cars sold in the U.S. in 2013, up nearly 30 percent from 2012.