LIBERTY, N.C. (WGHP) – Toyota announced on Wednesday that it is investing billions more and creating hundreds of additional jobs at the battery manufacturing facility it is building at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.
In a release, Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina, announced an additional $2.5 billion investment that will create another 350 jobs, which brings total employment at the plant where batteries for electric vehicles will be made to about 2,100.
Toyota in December announced a nearly $1.3 billion investment to build its first battery plant for electric vehicles on the site near Liberty. That plan pledges 1,750 jobs at a median salary of $62,234 by Dec. 31, 2026. The state approved $271.4 million in total incentives.
The increase means total investment by the company in North Carolina will be $5.6 billion, which ranks among the largest in the state, now surpassing the $4 billion that Vietnamese EV manufacturer Vinfast is investing in Chatham County.
This comes after North Carolina lawmakers included in their biennial budget $225 million for Phase II for Toyota’s battery manufacturing plant that would bring 5,000 jobs to the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.
“This marks another significant milestone for our company,” Norm Bafunno, senior vice president, Unit Manufacturing and Engineering at Toyota Motor North America, said in the release. “This plant will serve a central role in Toyota’s leadership toward a fully electrified future and will help us meet our goal of carbon neutrality in our vehicles and global operations by 2035.”
This project is part of the $70 billion Toyota is spending internationally to expand the production of electric vehicles.
“This is an exciting time for Toyota, the region and the many North Carolinians we will soon employ,” TBMNC President Sean Suggs said in the release. “This incremental investment reflects our continued commitment to ensuring jobs and future economic growth for the Triad region.”
There was no immediate comment from government and economic leaders in Greensboro or Randolph County, which co-own the megasite.
This expanded investment will add two more lines to the operation, officials say, and that means a trained workforce.
“We don’t just take a team member right out of school and say okay they’re ready to go and throw them into the job. There’s lots of things we like to teach them,” Don Stewart, vice president of the TBMNC, told WGHP.
Officials of Guilford Technical & Community College and Randolph Community College told WGHP that, based on their conversations with Toyota, they feel their training programs match very well with Toyota’s needs. That includes training in the field of “mechatronics.”
“What Toyota and other advanced manufacturers in the Triad are looking for is a single person who has multiple skills,” GTCC President Anthony Clarke said. “They can fix something on the factory floor that has mechanical parts, computer controls, electronics, pneumatics.”
Stewart said he expected most of the employees to come from North Carolina.
“We chose that area because we feel there’s a large population to draw from,” he said. “We firmly believe we’ll be supplier of choice and we’re going to market it that way.”
The item on Page 123 of the state’s budget made the state’s additional expenditure conditional on “the manufacturer” meeting and agreeing to specific standards and terms and calls for a corporate investment by Dec. 31, 2034, of “at least 5,000 eligible and expansion positions” and an investment of $4.7 billion in private funds.
The state’s original economic estimates that accompanied the $271.4 million in incentives suggested that by 2044 the impact on North Carolina’s gross domestic product would be $9.6 billion, which would equate to an increase of $35 million in net revenue for the state.
At the announcement in December, Chris Reynolds, chief administration officer for Toyota North America, laid out the reasons Toyota chose the state. He cited:
- “Extensive and well-maintained highways and railways” at the megasite.
- The presences of “four international airports and two seaports” in the state.
- North Carolina is “consistently ranked one of the best states to do business in.”
- A “world-renowned higher education system.” He joked that he already had been asked about his loyalties to the various schools.
- “An outstanding and diverse workforce” from which to train and develop employees.