Toyota on Tuesday announced plans to invest an additional $8 billion in its electric battery manufacturing site in Randolph County, bringing 3,000 more jobs to North Carolina.

According to WRAL capitol bureau chief Laura Leslie, Toyota’s announcement is the biggest investment by a foreign-owned company in state history.

The Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, an 1,825 acre property in Randolph County, will be one of Toyota’s largest facilities around the globe, and experts say it will make North Carolina a hub for the electric vehicle industry.

Toyota announced back in 2021 it would build an electric vehicle battery plant at the megasite — a $1.3 billion commitment with more than 1,700 jobs.

After Tuesday’s announcement, Toyota’s facility will now employ 5,000 people with a total estimated investment of nearly $14 billion.

Gov. Roy Cooper said he discussed the North Carolina plant with Toyota President Koji Sato during his recent trade mission to Japan.

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“This will be the largest single financial investment of a foreign owned company in the history of North Carolina,” Cooper said. “Sure enough, this is the third time they’ve increased the capacity of this plant … and now they’ve gone from six assembly lines to 14 assembly lines.”

N.C. State University economist Mike Walden said there’s a clean energy corridor forming between the Triad and the Triangle, with Toyota in Randolph County and fellow automaker Vinfast in Chatham County, along with semi-conductor maker Wolfspeed.

That equates to nearly 12,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs over the next few years coming to an area that’s been mostly rural.

“If you think about North Carolina’s economic development over the last two decades, largely the big metros have done fabulous,” Walden said. “What has been left out are many of our rural counties, and I foresee something here that could bring many of those rural counties in the central part of the state into the 21st century with jobs and very good paying jobs.”

Toyota has already begun hiring at its new automotive battery manufacturing plant. Earlier in October, WRAL TechWire reported staff is undergoing initial onboarding. New positions – more than 100 – are available at the location, according to the Toyota Jobs site.

The average salaries for employees will be at least $62,234, about $28,000 more in annual salary than the current median annual wage in the rural county, according to the Randolph County Board of Commissioners.

Toyota will receive some additional state incentives for the expansion, including an extra $315 million in state employment tax breaks if they create and keep all the jobs they’re promising. That brings the state and local incentive package to at least $750 million dollars over 39 years.

“Today’s announcement reinforces Toyota’s commitment to electrification and carbon reduction, bringing jobs and future economic growth to the region,” said Sean Suggs, president of Toyota North Carolina, in a statement. “We are excited to see the continued energy and support of this innovative manufacturing facility.”

Rendering of Toyota plant

Rendering of Toyota facility in Liberty, North Carolina. (Toyota image.)

The site, zoned for heavy industrial use, would have water and sewer provided by the City of Greensboro, according to its website. The site was previously considered by Toyota for a different project, according to reporting from the Triad Business Journal in 2018.

The company ultimately selected a site in Alabama to house a Toyota-Mazda manufacturing plan.

Toyota Motor Corp. aims for a commercial solid-state battery as soon as 2027. Charging time, one of the main drawbacks of electric vehicles, will get shortened to 10 minutes or less, the company said in a statement.

The Toyota plant site near Liberty, NC, in the Triad. (Toyota image)

Toyota plans to deliver 1.5 million EVs in 2026 by expanding its battery EV lineup and developing technology.

The plant will supply batteries to Toyota’s huge complex in Georgetown, Kentucky, which will build Toyota’s first U.S.-made electric vehicle, a new SUV with three rows of seats.

More reaction

  • “Today’s announcement is yet another validation of North Carolina’s national recognition a hub for innovation, and a top location for electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers,” said Christopher Chung, CEO at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC). “Japanese investment has a significant impact in our state, with more than 28,000 North Carolinians going to work for Japanese companies every day. We value and appreciate the ongoing partnership our state has with Japan and the economic impact this partnership will continue to have.”
  • “Toyota’s latest expansion in North Carolina is monumental,” said Senator Phil Berger. “The additional jobs and increased capital investment are proof that the Triad and our rural communities are prepared to support high-tech manufacturing. I’m thankful for Toyota’s dedication to our state and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow and employ hard-working North Carolinians.”
  • House Speaker Tim Moore said, “Today’s announcement that Toyota will make an additional investment of nearly $8 billion at its newest North American facility right here in North Carolina is a tribute to the hard work the General Assembly has done to ensure North Carolina is the best state for business and innovation.” He continued, “Toyota’s success is a prime example of how a balanced budget, a strong workforce, and a AAA credit rating pave the way for business growth. Toyota’s additional investment in North Carolina is a sign that we are on the right track.”