Toyota invests $285 mln in China to build continually variable transmissions image

Toyota Motor Corp., Japan’s largest carmaker said on Wednesday it would invest $285 million to build a new factory in China where the company will build continually variable transmissions (CVTs).

The factory, to be based in Changshu, Jiangsu province, is scheduled to start production in September 2014 with a planned, initial production capacity of 240,000 units a year. Toyota said the factory will have approximately 140,000 square meters and will employ 850 workers.

Most of the transmissions would be used on gasoline-engine vehicles with small engine displacement to improve driving performance while achieving high fuel efficiency.

The strength of the Japanese yen has continued to push major Japanese manufacturers to shift production abroad.

The move comes after the Japanese giant said it will build the Yaris compact vehicle in France instead of Japan beginning in May, 2013.

Toyota’s shift follows the move by Honda Motor Co. Ltd. to export its subcompact Fit model to Canada from a factory in China as Japanese auto makers adjust to the currency.

In addition Toyota plans to build more Lexus RX SUVs in Canada.