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Toyota to invest $1.3 billion in Kentucky facility for new electric SUV

(Reuters) -Toyota said on Tuesday it would invest $1.3 billion at its Kentucky facility for electrification efforts, including assembly of a new, three-row battery electric SUV for the U.S. market.

The project brings the plant’s total investment to nearly $10 billion.

The move comes at a time when legacy automakers such as Ford have pulled back from their electric vehicle (EV) ambitions to focus more on higher-margin hybrid and gasoline-powered models.

The investment will support the Japanese automaker’s previously announced battery electric vehicle assembly in Kentucky.

It also adds a battery pack assembly line to the facility, with batteries being supplied by Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina.

“We are grateful that they (Toyota) continue to invest in our commonwealth,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

The Kentucky plant, a key hub for the Japanese automaker, provides employment to about 9,400 workers and assembles as many as 550,000 vehicles a year, including its popular Camry sedan.

Toyota also raised its full-year operating profit forecast by nearly 9% earlier in the day, after its third-quarter earnings raced past analysts’ estimates thanks to a weaker yen and strong sales of high-margin cars and hybrid vehicles.

 (Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)


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