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Toyota Formally Opens Engineering Center in Scott County

Stu Johnson, WEKU News

State and local dignitaries in government, education, and business helped formally recognize Toyota’s new Production Engineering and Manufacturing Center in Scott County. 

Some 600 engineers will work to find the best way to make a vehicle and then share those design processes to other plants. Governor Matt Bevin was among those taking a look at the new facility.

“If every mechanically inclined eighth grader in America had a chance to walk through there, we would have more engineers than America would ever know what to do with. It is literally like a candy store for people who want to play with things, design things, build things and turn ideas into physical reality,” said Bevin.

After the ceremony, the governor noted the newest Toyota investment falls in line with his vision to make Kentucky the center of engineering and manufacturing excellence in the country. The production engineering project was announced three years ago as a part of the “One Toyota” initiative to create more unified operations in North America.

Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz says it is the U.S. hub for the automaker.

“I’ve been in this business for almost 40 years and I will tell you the next ten years, there will be more advancements in this industry than the last 50. Whether it’s autonomous driving or whether it’s how people consumer transportation with ride sharing and everything else,” said Lenz.

The engineer work supports all aspects of production, including stamping, body, paint, plastics, assembly, powertrain, environmental, and safety. Lenz called Monday’s announcement just the beginning, adding it’s not about a place, it’s about a mindset. Toyota has invested more than $7 billion in Kentucky since 1986.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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