If you buy a Toyota car or truck, there is an excellent chance you will be enjoying a precision-built engine and transmission made in ... West Virginia.
That's right: Millions of engines and transmissions for Toyota vehicles have been produced right here in the Mountain State, at a plant in Putnam County. Company officials, along with U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., this week are celebrating production of the 10 millionth unit at the factory. Rockefeller was a key player in convincing Toyota to build the facility here.
Since the West Virginia plant opened about 16 years ago, Toyota officials have had excellent reasons to pat themselves on the back for a wise decision. The Putnam County facility has been one of the firm's most efficient production lines. It already employs about 1,200 people, and Toyota plans to expand the plant.
For various reasons, manufacturers often reject suggestions they build plants in West Virginia. Perhaps they ought to think again, after a tour of Toyota's success story in Putnam County.