Toyota to hire 400, increase production at Woodstock, Ont., plant

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A third-generation Toyota RAV4.

Production of Toyota RAV4 (pictured) will increase the automaker's production in Woodstock, Ont. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Ymaup/Wikipedia)

Toyota has made a move in the Canadian market that will create jobs, reports CBC News. Hundreds of jobs will be created as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. expands its Canadian presence. Increased Toyota RAV4 assembly at a plant in Woodstock, Ont., will require a significantly expanded workforce to meet production goals.

Toyota to increase production by a third

By the early months of 2013, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. envisions vehicle production in excess of 200,000 units, annually. Such a production increase would be a significant increase from the target of 150,000 for 2012 that was set before discussion of the Woodstock plant began.

In order to meet the demands of such a large production increase, Toyota is prepared to make an $80 million investment in the Woodstock RAV4 plant. Approximately 400 new jobs will be created, bringing the total number of workers at the plant to about 2,400. The assembly plant produces the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX 350.

Bulk of RAV4 headed to US

Even though Toyota RAV4 sales were down 7 percent in the U.S. (to approximately 22,000) in 2011, the current plan in place is for most of the vehicles made in Canada to be sent to the U.S. Experts attribute the sales decline to a lack of parts availability caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

Recently, Toyota sales figures have begun to rebound in Canada. According to Toyota Canada, vehicle sales were up 31 percent year-over-over in February. In total, 12,384 more Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles were sold when compared with the previous 12 months.

“We are optimistic that the market is coming back and we’re grateful for the strong sales of the RAV4 in the North American market, which has created this increase in production and jobs,” said Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. chairman Ray Tanguay.

More expensive gas, most vehicles purchased

Even though gasoline prices have been on the rise in North America, new vehicle purchases have increased. Small and large vehicle sales increased over the past year, and experts note that the reason may be that improvements in fuel efficiency have more than kept pace with fuel prices.

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Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas told CBC News that U.S. vehicle sales will hit 14.8 million in 2012, a 15 percent increase over totals from 2011.

Strengthening Canada’s auto industry

Canada’s Minister of Industry Christian Paradis praised Toyota following the Woodstock expansion announcement.

“Our government welcomes the news of increased production at Toyota’s Woodstock plant, and congratulates the company on the success of the RAV 4,” Paradis said. “Together, Toyota’s Canadian plants represent one of the company’s largest, most successful manufacturing operations in the world, leading to jobs and growth in those communities and for Canadians.”

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