Global president of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, held a conference call with senior executives and the press this morning to make the announcement.
Lexus has been considering U.S. production for at least the last two years. According to Lexus, building the ES 350 at the Georgetown, Kentucky plant will require a $360 million investment and generate 750 jobs.
Lexus says it will build about 50,000 ES 350s each year, starting from the mid-2015 production date. Last year, 58,850 ES sedans were sold in North America, 56,158 of those in the U.S.
"Today’s Lexus ES announcement further strengthens Toyota’s commitment to serving American consumers, growing American production and investing in American team members," said Jim Lentz, Toyota’s chief executive officer for North America. "Today, Toyota’s 14 North American plants already produce seven out of every 10 vehicles that we sell in America, and North American-assembled vehicles are now exported to 23 countries around the world."
The ES 350 will be Toyota's 10th U.S.-built model. The Georgetown plant currently produces the Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid, Avalon and Avalon Hybrid, and the Venza