Toyota: Race’s sponsor is valued member of Central Kentucky
In 1957, the year Round Table won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Toyota established a presence in the U.S. by setting up shop in a former Rambler dealership in Hollywood, Claif. Sales began in 1958 and totaled 288 vehicles: 287 Toyopet Crown sedans and one Land Cruiser.
Over the next several years, Toyota vehicles became so popular in this country that the Japanese automaker began to build manufacturing plants across the U.S. In the 1980s, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) built a plant in nearby Georgetown and in 1981 began producing the popular Camry. In 1996, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, five area Toyota dealerships and Toyota Motor Sales in Cincinnati teamed up to sponsor the Blue Grass Stakes, marking Toyota's first sponsorship of a horse race. As part of the sponsorship agreement, Keeneland replaces vehicles in its fleet with Toyotas.
Toyota's $5.9 billion, state-of-the-art automotive complex in Georgetown is the company's largest vehicle manufacturing facility in North America. The total facility size is 7.5 million square feet, which equals 156 football fields under one roof.
The Georgetown facility has the capacity to produce 500,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines annually with nearly 7,000 full-time employees. Toyota's Kentucky-made products include the Camry, America's No. 1 selling car for more than a decade, as well as the Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Venza. Additionally, over 100 suppliers located in Kentucky support Toyota's manufacturing operation in the Bluegrass.
In 2014, TMMK reached a production milestone when the team members celebrated the 10-millionth vehicle manufactured at the Georgetown plant. Beginning in late 2015, the plant will begin production of the first U.S.-assembled Lexus, adding 50,000 vehicles to its current annual capacity.
Initially, Toyota hired team members from nearly every one of Kentucky's 120 counties and continues its philosophy of giving back to the communities where team members live. More than $110 million has been donated by Toyota's Kentucky plant to organizations throughout the state.