$545 million boost for Toyota plants

Toyota Canada and the federal and Ontario governments will invest $545 million to support “green innovation” and keep more manufacturing jobs in Canada.

The money will be used to upgrade Toyota’s Ontario-based manufacturing plants in Cambridge and Woodstock. The Ontario government is providing a $70.84 million grant, and Ottawa a $70.84 million repayable loan.

The government of Canada calls it an “investment in green innovation,” and Ontario says it is helping Toyota “increase productivity.” Ottawa says Toyota’s investment could reach up to $506 million.

“The development and implementation of innovative, fuel-efficient technologies are key to a competitive, forward-looking automotive industry in Canada,” said Gary Goodyear, Ottawa’s Minister of State (Science and Technology). “The presence of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada has been a tremendous boost to not only the local economies of Cambridge and Woodstock but also to Ontario and Canada.”

The Green Light

The project, dubbed “green light” will focus on improving production efficiency, implementing advanced vehicle technologies and performing environmental upgrades to plant facilities. This includes upgrading the paint shop at Toyota’s Cambridge North assembly plant, and converting base coat paint booths from a solvent-borne system to a water-borne system. This will result in lower emissions and reduce the environmental impact of Toyota’s manufacturing facility.

Ottawa’s money comes from the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF), which provides support for strategic, large-scale research and development projects in the automotive sector. The AIF was established to help automotive-related firms strengthen their capacity for innovation and to position them to compete successfully in the global economy, create jobs and support the development and implementation of innovative, fuel-efficient technologies.

For it’s part, the province of Ontario says its grant supports:

* Productivity upgrades, including new machinery and equipment;
* Employee training; and
* Continuous improvement projects to increase efficiency and reduce waste.

These upgrades will support the production of cleaner, more fuel efficient vehicles at Toyota’s Ontario plants, according to a news release. “We’re investing in Toyota to protect these jobs for Ontario families and to ensure Ontario remains a leader in the global auto industry. Our support for automotive innovation will lead to the production of more fuel efficient vehicles at Toyota’s facilities in Ontario,” said Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

“We’re pleased to help Toyota provide state-of-the-art training and equipment to families in our community. This investment will help Toyota maintain its competitive edge in the global market,” said John Milloy, MPP for Kitchener Centre, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

For his part, Ray Tanguay, Chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada said the investment would help its drive to continuously improve its products and processes. “Continuous improvement is the backbone of Toyota and we will continue to look for ways to improve our products, our processes, and our people. The strong support that we have received from both the Federal and Provincial governments is very important because it allows us to give these initiatives priority and helps to secure our production footprint in Canada. Government partnership also helps to ensure that the Canadian automotive industry remains competitive and strong,” said Tanguay.

The auto industry is an important driver of Ontario’s economy, supporting about 400,000 jobs across the province and generating billions of dollars in economic activity.

About Todd Phillips

Todd Phillips is the editorial director of Universus Media Group Inc. and the editor of Canadian auto dealer magazine. Todd can be reached at tphillips@universusmedia.com.

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