Toyota Canada expected to announce new work for Cambridge, Ont., plant

Toyota Canada is expected to announce today there will be production of one or more new models for its Cambridge, Ont.

The North Plant in the city 100 kilometres west of Toronto currently builds the RAV4 crossover, one of North America’s bestselling crossover vehicles.

On Friday, Toyota said it planned a “significant production announcement” for Monday that “will serve to further reaffirm Toyota’s commitment to manufacturing in Canada.”

Bloomberg reports Toyota is considering producing a version of its popular Lexus RX SUV, with an added third row of seating, at the facility, in addition to a Lexus NX crossover.

A Toyota Canada spokesperson declined to be more specific about the announcement.

Last year, Toyota invested $1.4 billion in its plants in Cambridge and in Woodstock, switching them over to what it calls its New Global Architecture, the platform that underpins many of Toyota’s future products.

That means they have the flexibility to change production models.

Currently, the plant’s main product is the RAV4, which it cranked out 247,633 versions of in 2017. But the Japanese automaker recently cast doubt on how long these plants would make the RAV4 after it announced it would produce the gas-electric hybrid model in Georgetown, Ky.

“The overwhelming majority of RAV4 vehicles produced for North America — including hybrid — will be produced in Canada,” spokesperson Michael Bouliane told CBC News on Monday.

The announcement of new models would be welcome news for the Ontario auto industry, where passenger vehicle production is shrinking.

GM is winding down its operations in Oshawa and expects to close by the end of the year as part of a global restructuring plan. About 2,500 people will lose their jobs.

And Fiat Chrysler announced it will cut the third shift at its Windsor plant in September, threatening another 1,500 jobs.

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