Wednesday was a monumental day for Toyota’s Buffalo plant, which celebrated the production of its 10 millionth unit.
“It’s a historical day for Toyota, for Putnam County and for manufacturing in West Virginia. Congratulations team members,” said Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia president Yoji Suzuki. ”I am very humbled and very proud of your accomplishment.”
Toyota dignitaries, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, local lawmakers and plant employees took part in a ceremony to celebrate the milestone. TMMWV is the first plant outside of Japan to produce 10 million units.
“That’s quite a milestone and it proves that we have a great workforce and the partnership with Toyota has been great,” said Tomblin.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller took part in the celebration, marking a day made special because of his role in bringing Toyota to the Mountain State.
“I have the incredible satisfaction of knowing that I worked really non-stop for 10 years to get them, from the beginning to the point when they actually decided to come here,” said Rockefeller.
Since starting with around 300 employees when plant production began in 1998, the facility has grown to 1,300 team members after seven expansions. Rockefeller said the plant has branded West Virginia as a place for business.
TMMWV team leader Cliff Powell called such a milestone unimaginable when the plant opened 15 years ago.
“It’s hard to fathom 10 million engines and transmissions being built out of this plant, but it’s happened and actually we’re building engines and transmissions and adding to that number every single day,” said Powell.
TMMWV assembles four-cylinder and V6 engines and 6-speed automatic transmissions for nine of Toyota’s 12 North American-produced vehicles. Total output of all engines produced at the Buffalo plant tops one billion horsepower.
Said Tomblin in praising plant’s employees: “Everyday you build high-quality engines and transmissions in this small, tight-knit community, and by doing your best and turning out a reliable product for Toyota, you’ve built a world-class reputation. You deserve this recognition.”
With its most recent expansion project earlier this year, cumulative investment at the plant has reached $1.3 billion with an annual capacity of more than 650,000 engines and more than 520,000 automatic transmissions.