This past Friday, Lexus announced that the ES 350 will be built at the Georgetown manufacturing plant in Kentucky — now, Hans Greimel of Automotive News has some details behind the decision:
North America CEO Jim Lentz and Lexus International Executive Vice President Mark Templin fast-tracked plans to shift Lexus ES production to Toyota’s Georgetown, Ky., plant from Japan. Now 50,000 units of the ES will be built in Kentucky starting in 2015.
“The first decision they made, in less than one month, is to bring production of a Lexus model to the United States,” Toyoda said at a press conference here on Friday. “By having them in the top leadership here in the United States, it accelerated this very natural decision.”
For more than a year, Toyota had conducted a feasibility study on local production of the ES sedan, which is the second-best selling Lexus in the United States. But the North American team made its formal pitch to the Japanese top brass in Toyota City just 30 days ago — and, amazingly, won snap approval, Lentz said. The overall investment totals more than half a billion dollars.
Lexus has certainly embraced an accelerated pace with the numerous model updates over the last year, and now appear to be gaining even more speed with these new changes in the management structure — combine this with the new design direction, the focus on performance, and the latest lifestyle initiatives, and Lexus is on their way to reinventing the entire brand.