Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during an announcement at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada’s plant in Cambridge, Ont., Monday, April 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

Toyota to build Lexus SUV in Cambridge, Ont., plant starting in 2022

CAMBRIDGE, Ont. — Toyota will start building the Lexus NX SUV at its Cambridge, Ont., plant starting in 2022, the company announced Monday, saying the move demonstrates its commitment to staying in the province.

The plant will produce both a standard and hybrid version of the vehicle to supply the North American market.

Fred Volf, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, said the announcement is good news for Ontario auto workers.

“It means that Toyota’s Canadian manufacturing operations are here to stay,” he said during a news conference at the plant held with the prime minister.

Toyota will have extra capacity at the plant after announcing in March that it would shift production of the hybrid RAV4 SUV to its plant in Georgetown, Ky.

Last year, the company committed to invest $1.4 billion in its Cambridge and Woodstock plants in Ontario. The federal government committed $110 million to support the investment.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said government funding will always play a role in securing the future of the Canadian auto industry.

“I think the question that Canadians rightly have about public money invested in any industry is, are we investing in the future of the industry or are we investing in keeping things the way they were?” Trudeau said.

“We see that the auto industry is evolving rapidly and that’s why … being part of that and making those investments for the future also by investing in research, in science and in education and training for Canadians is how public investments are going to ensure that we continue to have great jobs right across Canada for many years to come.”

Trudeau said Toyota’s decision amounts to a “significant” vote of confidence at a time when the auto sector is facing many challenges.

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, Ont., 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 a shift at its Windsor, Ont., plant later this year at a loss of about 1,500 jobs.

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