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Toyota, the third-largest automobile manufacturer in the world, built a $400 million engine plant on a 230-acre site in Buffalo, Putnam County, in 1997. The plant produces engines and automatic transmissions for the Japanese company’s North American automobile assembly plants.

In December 1998, the Buffalo plant produced its first four-cylinder engine, with a capacity to produce 300,000 a year. By 1999, the plant had manufactured its first V-6 engine, and two years later, had started building automatic transmissions. In 2005, plant workers built four-cylinder engines for Toyota’s Corolla and Matrix models, and V-6 engines for the Sienna and Lexus. Additionally, automatic transmissions were manufactured for the Camry, Solara, Lexus, and Sienna.

The state offered Toyota several incentives to locate the plant in West Virginia, including $15 million in tax credits over 13 years, improvements to State Route 62, job training grants of $1,000 per employee, $2 million for site preparation and start-up expenses, exemption from property taxes on plant equipment for 10 years, and a $50,000 grant for a Saturday school for children of Japanese workers who moved to Putnam County to set up the plant.

Since the plant’s opening, Toyota has announced four expansions at its West Virginia facility. At full capacity, Toyota West Virginia can produce 540,000 engines and 360,000 automatic transmissions per year. About 1,000 people, most of whom live in West Virginia, work at the plant. About 10 Toyota employees from Japan work there at any time. The Japanese workers usually take a three-year assignment and then return home.

Last Revised on February 18, 2021


Finn, Scott. Toyota Makes it Official: Buffalo Plant to Expand at Friday Announcement. Charleston Gazette, 1/27/2001.

Ward, Ken Jr. Toyota Looks at Site in Putnam for Plant. Charleston Gazette, 1/1/1996.

Cite This Article

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Toyota." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 18 February 2021. Web. 18 September 2021.


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