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First Lexus Rolls Off The Line At Georgetown Toyota Plant

Josh James

For the last two years, Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown has been retooling to bring an entirely new assembly line online. Monday workers finally saw the fruits of that labor.

The Lexus ES 350 is now in production at the Georgetown plant, marking the first time the best-selling luxury sedan can wear the label “Made in the USA.”

"... to think about being able to add on the premium brand of the Lexus just takes thing to another level," says TMMK president Wil James.

James says the decision to produce the vehicle in Kentucky represents a vote of confidence in the workers, some of whom volunteered for the more challenging Lexus assembly line.

"Over here on the Toyota side, our folks are working at a 55 second tack, so there's 55 seconds of work that they do at each one of their stations," he explains. "Over on the Lexus side, we're talking almost four-and-a-half minutes of things that they have to remember."

One of those workers hitting the books was 21-year veteran Lorie Wilder, who made up part of what’s called the “trim line.”

"We go through those manual, those manuals about this thick," she says, holding her finger about two inches apart. "And we learn it all and we memorize it all and we know the ins and the outs."

Toyota added 750 new jobs and conducted close to a million-and-a-half hours of training to launch the new Lexus line – with an expectation of producing 50,000 vehicles a year.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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