March 25, 2019

Toyota News Shows WV A Good Place To Do Business | The Charleston Gazette

As I have said many times before, West Virginia is the perfect place to do business. West Virginians are the hardest-working people in America and, when companies and organizations come to our state, they tend to stay and grow here. Our state’s relationship with Toyota is a perfect example.

Toyota just announced an additional $111 million investment in West Virginia, which will add 123 more jobs to the Buffalo plant in the next year. This announcement is a testament to the West Virginians who work every day at that plant, their professionalism and their hard work.

Relationships like this take time and trust. When I traveled to Japan as governor in 2005, I met with Dr. Toyoda and his son, Akio Toyoda (who is now president of the company), and made sure they knew the opportunities and benefits in a long-term, strong relationship with our great state. Because of this trip, I was thrilled when Toyota announced in 2017 that it would begin production of the first American-made transaxles for hybrid vehicles at Buffalo in 2020, and I couldn’t be more excited that the company is doubling down on that decision.

The Buffalo plant was the first plant outside Japan to make transmissions for Toyota, and this newest investment cements West Virginia’s role in producing the engines and transmissions of the future.

Since their initial $400 million investment in 1996 that created 300 jobs, Toyota has more than quadrupled their investment and workforce at the Buffalo plant in the past 23 years. By 2020, their anticipated investment will exceed $1.4 billion, with a workforce of approximately 1,800 jobs, but it’s not their only investment in our state. Hino Motors, a subsidiary of Toyota, has been manufacturing medium-duty commercial trucks at their facilities in Wood County since 2007. This operation represents another multi-million dollar investment in our state and is directly responsible for approximately 500 jobs.

But jobs are not the only thing important to our state, or to Toyota. Toyota has become a strong supporter of our communities, including teaching the Toyota Production System to local nonprofits, such as the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington, to increase efficiency to better meet the needs of the community.

Toyota also is assisting at BridgeValley, to create an Advanced Manufacturing Technician associates degree program to help train West Virginians in the skills needed to work at the plant or elsewhere in a similar field. Toyota also participates in job fairs, like the one we are hosting on Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center with over 230 other employers, and I look forward to having them attend.

While Toyota has done a lot of good for our state, we are returning the favor, as well. The Buffalo plant has exceeded expectations, by being innovative and setting a standard for other plants around the country and internationally; developing new ways to achieve their goals that are then implemented across all of the Toyota plants. This is the outside-the-box thinking that draws companies to our state and keeps them here, employing West Virginians who bring a new, unique perspective to their organizations.

I have said it before and will say it again, West Virginians have done the back-breaking work that has made our country what it is today. We are proud of our hard work and dedication to our careers. We always have, and always will, exceed expectations put on us. Our relationship with Toyota is so beneficial because they recognize this and know we’re the best state to do business with.


By:  Senator Joe Manchin