To ease the impact of the stronger yen, Toyota plans to build more models, and implicitly add more jobs, in North America.
“With the yen where it is today, I think it’s only a matter of time,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.
Toyota already sells almost 70% of its models in North America, but it plans to increase this percentage in the near future, as a shield against the strong yen, which continues to put pressure on the auto maker. A stronger yen affects the overseas earnings, which means it will be more difficult for the Japanese auto makers to offer cheap products abroad. Therefore, Toyota plans to plans to add 3,500 new jobs and invest $1.6 billion in the North American plants.
Initially, Toyota will transfer production of the models which reach annual sales of 100,000 and more, for example the Lexus ES, which sold 50,000 units in the US in the past two years. The car maker also plans to build other models in the region, including the new full-size Avalon, which will be launched in October.
“We’ll have additional announcements down the road as more of our cars are designed, built, sold and serviced right here in North America,” Lentz said.