Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Toyota celebrates production of 25 millionth car, start of production on redesigned Avalon
Toyota celebrated 25 million cars manufactured at their Georgetown plant Wednesday with the unveiling of the completely redesigned 2013 Avalon.
KyForward staff report
Toyota celebrated a major milestone Wednesday, as employees gathered to recognize the completion of the 25 millionth car produced at the Georgetown plant.
The celebration coincided with the start of production of the carmaker’s redesigned 2013 Avalon. The milestone vehicle, a silver Hybrid Avalon, was lowered to the production floor as thousands of Toyota team members cheered and music filled the massive facility.
TMMK President Wil James addesses the crowd during Wednesday's ceremony.
“This is a pivotal time in Toyota’s history,” Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky Inc. President Wil James told the crowd. “What a better way to cap off 26 years of manufacturing excellence that with the all-new Kentucky-built Avalon, a shining example of what our customers have to look forward to in the future.”
Toyota has touted the new model as the “most American” Avalon yet, with 90 percent of the car designed, developed and engineered in the U.S. The premium mid-sized sedan will be available in two grades, XLE and Limited, with seven models that will cover a broader price range to increase accessibility to a broader consumer base. The price of the new model will range from a base of $30,990 to $41,400 for the Limited Hybrid Model.
Gov. Steve Beshear and University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari were on hand for the celebration and unveiling of the state-of-the art sedan.
Calipari compared the Toyota team to his 2012 NCAA Championship basketball team and the sacrifices many of them made, including that of Darius Miller, who spent his senior season as the Wildcats sixth man.
TMMK President Wil James presented Universty of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari with a jacket commemorating the redesigned 2013 Avalon during the Wednesday event.
“It’s amazing what gets done when no one cares who gets the credit,” Calipari told the cheering crowd.
“When I see this facility, it’s not about cars for me. It’s about people,” he said. “What I want is for (sales of) this car to explode so we’ve got to hire a thousand more families at this place.”
The Georgetown plant, Toyota’s largest in North America, employs almost 6600 central Kentucky workers and manufactures the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon and Venza models as well as 4-cylinder and V6 engines for other Toyota models. Toyota’s overall North American production, which began in 1957 includes 12 models accounting for 70 percent of U.S. Sales.