Toyota to expand RAV4 output to 2nd Canadian plant

Toyota Motor Corp. will expand production of its RAV4 crossover to a second Canadian plant, beginning in 2019.

Cambridge North Assembly will receive “significant new investment” to build the vehicles, Toyota said Tuesday in a statement. Specific dollar figures were not disclosed.

“RAV4 is a leader in the fastest growing segment of the North American auto industry,” Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz said in a statement. “We forecast that the segment will continue to demonstrate strong growth with the RAV4 being a major player.”

Toyota said in April that production of the Corolla compact car would shift from Cambridge to a new Mexico facility in 2019, the same year RAV4 production is slated to begin at the plant.

The RAV4 announcement is part of a plan to make Canada a “North American hub for sport utility vehicles,” Toyota said. Toyota currently produces the RAV4 at its plant in Woodstock, Ontario. The Lexus RX is produced at the Cambridge South facility. Toyota employs 8,000 workers at the three plants.

The company said it also will produce a RAV4 hybrid. A Toyota spokeswoman said it has not been determined which factory will produce the hybrid.

As part of the change, the automaker said it will roll out its modular global platform, dubbed the Toyota New Global Architecture. Beginning with the 2016 Prius, versions of the platform will be used on various Toyota cars and crossovers, including the RAV4.

U.S. RAV4 sales were up 15 percent to 256,178 vehicles this year through October compared with the same period last year.

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