WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Toyota Motor Manufacturing plans to invest $90 million and create up to 80 new jobs to once again expand production at its Buffalo manufacturing plant, the company announced Friday.
The expansion will increase transmission production at the plant by about 240,000 units each year. It marks the eighth expansion project for the Putnam County facility since production began in 1998.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced the expansion plan during the final day of the state Chamber of Commerce's annual three-day Business Summit at The Greenbrier.
In a press release from the company, Tomblin said Toyota has been a "dedicated corporate citizen" over the last 15 years.
"The continued growth is a testament to the hard-working Toyota team members who have committed themselves to producing quality powertrain at the Buffalo plant," Tomblin said.
"The company's continued investment in the Mountain State is also a testament to the business climate we've worked hard to create - one that encourages companies to expand, innovate and create new jobs," he said.
The Friday announcement is part of an overall $102 million expansion being announced at Toyota facilities in West Virginia, Missouri and Tennesee. The Missouri and Tennessee facilities manufacture aluminum transmission cases and housing parts for the West Virginia plant.
The overall expansion will create more than 100 jobs across the three plants, with the majority of jobs being created at the Buffalo site.
"This capacity increase helps us meet growing North American demand and is part of our localization strategy to 'build where we sell,'" Millie Marshall, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing of West Virginia, said in a company statement.
Toyota, the world's best-selling auto maker, has taken strides over the last year to boost production in North America, the company's largest market. It had already announced expansion plans totaling $2 billion to expand capacity at it's North American factories.
"This latest investment helps us better serve our North American customers and prepares us for an even brighter future," Marshall said.
Toyota broke ground at the Buffalo site in 1996, nearly 10 years after Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., first began lobbying Toyota chairman Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda to invest in the state.
Toyota originally invested $400 million to build the Buffalo plant. It employed about 350 by the time production began in 1998. Since then Toyota has invested nearly $900 million in seven different expansion projects, creating nearly 1,000 new jobs.