REUTERS: Toyota Motor Corp said Thursday it is investing US$749 million in five U.S. plants and adding 586 jobs as it boosts engine production capacity and adds new hybrid models.
President Donald Trump has prodded Japanese automakers to add more jobs in the United States as the White House has threatened to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported vehicles, on the grounds of national security.
Toyota and other automakers have been heavily lobbying to block any new tariffs on imported vehicles.
Toyota said it will invest US$288 million in Alabama to increase annual engine capacity from 670,000 to 900,000 by the end of 2021 and will add new 4-cylinder and V6 engine lines. It will also invest US$238 million in a Kentucky plant to build hybrid versions of the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus ES 300h.
Toyota announced last year it would jointly build a new US$1.6 billion plant with Mazda Motor Corp in Alabama.
Toyota said it will exceed a 2017 pledge to invest US$10 billion over five years with a new commitment to reach nearly US$13 billion over the same period, including Thursday's announcement.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda will be in Washington Friday to deliver a speech in which he is expected to tout the new investments.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)