The world’s largest automaker, mind Japan’s Toyota Motor, will move a part of the US production of the Camry sedan from a plant in Lafayette, Indiana, to its own facility in Georgetown, Kentucky.
According to the company, production worth of 100,000 Camry units would be moved from the plant owned by Fuji Heavy Industries, which is Subaru’s parent, since the second half of 2016, when a production agreement between the two expires. Fuji, which is also expanding its only plant making Subaru cars in the US, needs the capacity to be freed to cater for the Japanese brand’s rising North American sales.
“Every time I speak with Toyota people regarding Camry sales or Camry incentives, they always say, ‘Camry is different; Camry is special,’ ” Kei Nihonyanagi, a Tokyo-based equity analyst for Bank of America said. “Securing the No. 1 position in the US is very important to Toyota.”
“I’m pretty confident they’ll have to make an expansion at Georgetown to accommodate that move, but they’ve got some time to figure it out,” adds Jeff Liker, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan that focuses on Toyota.
Toyota aims to keep Camry in its top US position, making stylistic changes half-way through its usual five-year cycle, to make up lost sales to its Japanese and US rivals – Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion.