Canada and Ontario governments invest to retool Toyota plant image

The Canadian and Ontario governments will invest nearly $34 million to help retool a Toyota plant in Cambridge, Ontario, where a hybrid Lexus SUV will be produced.

The Lexus RX450h will be the first hybrid to be built in Canada, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who announced that the federal and provincial governments will each provide $16.9 million. “Our government is committed to helping Canada’s automotive sector remain globally competitive and prosperous,” Harper said.

The government funds will be part of Toyota’s plan to invest more than $100 million to expand Lexus manufacturing in Canada. The expansion will increase Lexus manufacturing capacity by 30,000 units to 104,000 units, including 15,000 Lexus RX450h hybrid electric vehicles. It will also create 400 new jobs at the Cambridge plant.

The Ontario plant is the only Toyota facility outside of Japan that makes Lexus models. Funding from the federal government will come from its Automotive Innovation Fund, which was set up in 2008 with an initial $250 million destined for R&D projects in the country’s auto industry. Earlier this month, the government put another $250 million into the fund and extended it for five years.