The $1.4 billion dollar investment into Toyota’s Cambridge assembly plant is expected to benefit workers at Kautex-Textron in Windsor.
Emile Nabbout, the Vice-President of Unifor Local 195, tells CTV News it is “big time positive” news in the automotive sector.
Kautex’s 200 employees in Windsor make plastic fuel tanks for the automotive industry, including the Toyota Rav 4, built in Woodstock.
Nabbout says they already have a Lexus project and he anticipates Kautex will be awarded the contract for the Lexus NX SUV.
The automaker says it will start building the standard and hybrid luxury SUV’s in Cambridge in early 2022.
Back in 2003, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC), became the company’s’ first facility to produce Lexus vehicles outside of Japan.
Since then, 1.3 million Lexus RX and Lexus RX hybrids have been built in Cambridge, according to the company.
“These companies are global companies. They can invest anywhere on the planet,” says Stephen MacKenzie, the President and CEO of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation.
MacKenzie believes Ontario was chosen for its skilled workforce and supply chain.
“The OEM’s (original equipment manufacturer) look for a radius and typically a 500 kilometre radius is the outside circle for the supply chain,” according to Tim Galbraith, the sales manager at Cavalier Tool in Windsor. The Windsor-Essex region falls within that radius.
While the tool and mold maker isn’t planning to bid on any Toyota contracts for the Lexus NX project, Galbraith says the automotive industry across Southwestern Ontario can benefit.
“We may do sub-contractor work for him, the same way he'll do sub contract work for us on other things,” says Galbraith. “The resources of the industry are a great resource geographically.”
Automotive analyst Dennis DesRosiers says it’s a good move for Canada because luxury vehicles are the fastest growing segment in the automotive sector and SUV’s are the most popular vehicles on the market.
The new product announcement by Toyota comes after the Ontario manufacturing sector was hit by major job loss announcements in recent months.
General Motors Canada announced last November that it would close its Oshawa plant by the end of the year at a loss of close to 3,000 jobs, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said in March that it would cut its third shift at its Windsor plant in September at a loss of about 1,500 jobs.