Toyota Pushes Past GM (Again) To Become The World’s No. 1 Carmaker

Toyota to expand production of V6 engines in Ala.


Adam Rubenfire
Automotive News— May 17, 2012 – 4:54 pm ET

Toyota Motor Corp. said today it would invest about $80 million to expand its Huntsville, Ala., engine plant to produce more V6 engines for the U.S. market.

The automaker, in a statement, said a new 300,000-square-foot building — set to start production in March 2014 — will allow its Alabama unit to produce an additional 216,000 V6 engines per year, increasing its capacity by 148 percent and allowing it to produce over 362,000 per year.

The Huntsville Plant currently assembles 700,000 4-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines annually for eight Toyota North American-built vehicles, according to the company.

The expansion will increase total engine production capacity at the plant to 916,000 per year and to 1.4 million per year for all U.S. operations. Toyota also builds engines in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Toyota said the expansion would create about 125 new jobs, increasing the plant’s work force to 1,150 people. Furthermore, it increases the total amount of funds Toyota has invested in the plant to over $700 million since it opened in 2003.

Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, said in a statement: “This V6 line addition continues to reflect our growing optimism for an improving North American market, and we continue to study more localization in North America.”

Toyota and Tesla to reveal electric RAV4 next week

It’s been nearly two years since Toyota announced its collaboration with Tesla Motors to bring an electric version of the RAV4 to market in 2012. We first saw what the vehicle might be like through a demonstration prototype unveiled at the 2010 L.A. Auto Show.

Toyota now is preparing unveil its fully engineered RAV4 EV at the 26th World Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exposition next Monday.

The one tease we have of the new electric Rav4 is the badge on the door near the rocker panel (above). Later this year, Toyota will begin production of the jointly developed EV at its Woodstock plant in Ontario, where the current RAV4 is built.

Toyota paid Tesla about $100 million to supply the RAV4 EV’s powertrain, including the battery, motor, gearbox and power electronics. Toyota says the RAV4 EV’s range could reach about 100 miles, which is what most carmakers quote for their EVs before EPA testing that typically dials that back a bit.

There’s no word yet if the RAV4 EV is based off a new RAV4 design or the current vehicle, which has been on the market for nearly six years now.

— Colin Bird/’s Kicking Tires