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Toyota To Base North American Manufacturing Unit in Kentucky

February 2, 1996

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) _ Toyota Motor Corp. announced Thursday it is creating a separate unit to oversee its manufacturing operations in North America and will put its headquarters in northern Kentucky.

Toyota named the head of its Georgetown, Ky., plant as president of the new unit, called Toyota Motor Manufacturing, North America Inc.

Mikio Kitano, the new unit’s chief, said the headquarters complex will be close to the Georgetown plant, a planned truck factory near Princeton, Ind., and 250 manufacturing suppliers. Located near the Ohio-Kentucky line, the unit will also be close to Cincinnati.

Toyota is negotiating for several sites in Boone County, Ky., on which to build the headquarters. The sites are near the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport.

The new unit is expected to open Oct. 1 and will employ about 350 people. The payroll is expected to grow to about 560 in 1998.

Most of the positions at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, North America will be filled with employees transferring from New York, Michigan, California, Kentucky and elsewhere, said Toyota vice president Jim Wiseman.

The company’s sales and marketing operation and its research efforts will remain in California and Michigan.

Wiseman, attending a ceremony at the Kentucky Capitol, said placement of the new unit ``signifies that Toyota is taking North America even more seriously.″

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority on Thursday approved an incentive package worth up to $13.25 million in tax credits for Toyota over the coming decade.

Toyota will be manufacturing 1.2 million vehicles in North America by 1998 _ nearly 30 percent of its worldwide total.

Ground was broken for the company’s first manufacturing plant in the United States a decade ago in Georgetown. Toyota now builds Camrys and Avalons there, along with engines. It employs 6,500 people.

Toyota also makes passenger cars in Cambridge, Ontario, and has a plant in Fremont, Calif., that is jointly owned by Toyota and General Motors Corp. It also builds fork lifts in Indiana, has engine and casting operations in St. Louis and Troy, Mich., and a parts manufacturing facility in Canada.

The company had about 20,000 employees across North America in 1995.

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