Associated Press Published

2 Decades Pass Since Toyota Groundbreaking in W.Va.


Two decades have passed since ground was broken on Toyota West Virginia Motor Manufacturing’s engine and transmission plant in Putnam County.

On Sept. 18, 1996, Japanese and American officials planted 10 Japanese maple trees at a ceremony in Buffalo.

The plant opened in 1998 with about 300 employees. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the plant now employs about 1,100 workers.

A new $90 million production line opened in 2014, increasing the plant’s annual capacity from 500,000 transmissions to 700,000. The plant has expanded eight times since it opened.

The plant was one of the signature achievements of then-U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who was chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and has known Toyota’s founding family since the 1960s.