Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) on Tuesday announced that it would add 400 jobs at one of its assembly plant in the U.S. with a $600 million investment, a move after the President Trump called on auto manufacturers to build cars in the nation.
Japan’s largest automaker said it will invest $600 million to upgrade its assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana. The investment will help boost production of its Highlander SUVs by 40,000 units a year from the second half of 2019. Highlander is Toyota’s second best selling SUVs in the U.S. The company said the 400 jobs are part of this investment.
The company also said the investment is part of a $10 billion spending plan it announced earlier this month to expand and modernize its factories in the U.S.
“This expansion project is part of Toyota’s localization strategy to build vehicles where they are sold,’’ the company said Tuesday in its statement, which didn’t mention the president by name.
The move comes after Trump formally ended the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on Monday. Investors are concerned about the risk of his protectionist trade policies. Trump had previously said in a tweet Toyota may be imposed a “big border tax” if it builds plant in Mexico.
“As we go forward, the next time we need more assembly capacity, we understand his desire to have it in the U.S.,” Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of the company’s North American operations, said.