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Toyota celebrates 25 years in West Virginia

BUFFALO, W.Va. — One of West Virginia’s largest private manufacturing facilities celebrated a major milestone over the weekend. Saturday marked 25 years since the Toyota plant opened in Buffalo, West Virginia.

Srini Matam (Photo/Toyota WV)

Initially the plant made only four cylinder engines, but over time grew in capacity to produce four and six cylinder engines as well as automatic transmissions and now hybrid trans-axles. The plant has expanded multiple times and now employs more than 2,000 people.

“Probably, they did guess the expansion would come, but as we continued to excel in key performance indicators a lot of people at the headquarters in Japan and in North America recognized the value of the company here in Buffalo, West Virginia and we continued to expand,” said Sirini Matam, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia.

Matam credited the success of the plant to a solid workforce.

“Our team members come to work every, single day and work hard. Not only do they work hard, but they bring intelligence and ingenuity to work with them,” he explained.

Matam said the turnover rate among full time company employees is extremely low in Buffalo.  Turnover in temporary workers is slightly higher, but even it is not very large when compared to other places struggling to find a qualified workforce.

The Toyota operation in Buffalo provides components used assembly of Lexus, Sienna, Highlander, Camry and several other Toyota models. The wide array of products makes the plant vital in the supply chain for the entire Toyota family.

“We’re pretty much integrated with the whole Toyota vehicle lineup,” Matam said.

As part of their 25th Anniversary Toyota has made a $189,000 dollar contribution to West Virginia Tech for the formation of an after school computer science program aimed at getting more girls into the STEM fields. It’s one of the many contributions the company has made to the community since becoming established a quarter century ago in Putnam County.

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