Toyota marks 20 years of manufacturing in the U.S.
COLUMBUS, Ind.—Twenty years ago, Toyota Industrial Equipment Mfg., Inc., or TIEM, opened its first Toyota lift truck manufacturing plant outside of Japan in Columbus, Indiana. Yesterday, the world’s largest lift truck manufacturer (No. 1 on Modern’s 2010 list of the Top 20 Lift Truck Suppliers worldwide) commemorated the plant’s 20th anniversary.
The ceremony also celebrated the launch of the new 8-series, 4-wheel electric AC lift truck with a line-off ceremony. The new line of AC-powered lift trucks, which is said to deliver longer runtimes and quicker acceleration for increased productivity, will be manufactured exclusively on the 126 acre, 998,000 square foot campus.
The anniversary and launch was attended by TIEM’s 600-plus associates; Tetsuro “Ted” Toyoda, president, Toyota Industries Corporation; Kazue Sasaki, president, TIEM Brett Wood, president, Toyota Materials Handling, U.S.A., Inc., along with other Toyota executives and leading Toyota lift truck dealers.
“Toyota prides itself on manufacturing products that embody industry leading safety, quality, durability and reliability,” said Kazue Sasaki, president of TIEM. “During the last two decades, TIEM has achieved a number of manufacturing milestones thanks to the support of our customers, dealer body, associates and community. We look forward to another 20-plus years of manufacturing excellence in Indiana.”
Toyota has invested $113 million in the Columbus facility which has built more than 350,000 lift trucks, Sasaki noted. The plant produces more than 78% of all Toyota lift trucks sold in North America.
The zero landfill facility has been recognized by the state of Indiana as a recipient of the 2009 and 2005 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for Five Years Continuous Improvement.
The new 4-wheel AC-powered series of lift trucks, which includes a new 5,500 pound model, was designed with input from customers and dealers alike to meet the changing needs of electric lift truck users, which represents the fastest-growing segment of the lift truck market. The segment has grown from 60% to 67% of the market since 2008.
“To meet customers’ needs for increased productivity and efficiency, we are introducing the most powerful AC electric lift truck Toyota has ever built,” said Wood. “With the 8-Series, Toyota offers our customers improved performance speeds – including up to 21% faster travel speeds over the previous model.”