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Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Toyota’s largest vehicle manufacturing plant outside of Japan is located in Georgetown, Kentucky, the state’s Bluegrass Region. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK), covers 7.5 million square feet of floor space, the equivalent of 156 football fields…don’t worry about your legs getting tired on the plant tour though, because you’ll be riding comfortably in one of their assembly

TMMK employs about 7,000 team members who build nearly 2,000 quality vehicles each day. A “takt time” of 55 seconds on both of the vehicle assembly lines means that two new Toyota vehicles are built in Georgetown every 55 seconds!

TMMK began production in 1988 with the popular Toyota Camry sedan. The Avalon sedan was added in 1994, while the Sienna minivan was produced from 1997 to 2002.

As you tour TMMK, your guide points out the foundations of the world-renowned Toyota Production System. These will include examples of kaizen, or continuous improvement; just-in-time parts delivery; and the andon system, where team members can stop the line at any time to address quality concerns or any problems.

In the TMMK Visitor Center, you will see current models of the vehicles and engines built in Georgetown, plus the very first Camry produced by team members in May 1988. The Visitor Center also includes interactive video displays and exhibits on Quality, Teamwork, the Toyota Production System, and hybrid technology.

What is the Cost?  Its  Free
Toyota vehicle (in the form of a refrigerator magnet!).
Video Shown: 10-minute video provides a brief plant overview, including sections not included on the tour.
Reservations Needed: Yes, but walk-ins will be accommodated as space permits. Phone Numbers:

 (502) 868-3027   (800) 866-4485
Days and Hours:
Plant tour: Mon–Fri 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 2:00 pm, Thur also 6:00 pm. Closed holidays.
Visitor Center: Mon–Fri 9:00 am–4:00 pm, Thur until 7:00 pm. Toyota reserves the right to cancel or reschedule tours at any time.
Plan to Stay: 1.5–2 hours for plant tour, video, and exhibits.
Minimum Age: Plant tour: 1st grade for public tours and 4th grade for school tours. Visitor Center: no minimum age.
Disabled Access: Yes
Group Requirements: Maximum group size is 64 adults. Large groups must call several months in advance.
Special Information: Photographs and video and mechanical recordings are allowed in the Visitor Center but not during the plant tour.
Gift Shop: Sells logoed golf shirts, T-shirts, caps, etc. Open same hours as Visitor Center.
Directions: From Lexington, take I-75 North to Exit 126 (Georgetown/Cynthiana). Turn right onto U.S. 62 (Cherry Blossom Way). Drive exactly 2.5 miles and turn left at Visitor Entrance sign.
Nearby Attractions: Three Chimneys horse farm, Rebecca-Ruth Candies, Buffalo Trace Distillery, and Old Kentucky Candies tours (see pages 252, 251, 240–241, and 250); Kentucky Horse Park; Keeneland Racecourse; Calumet horse farm; Georgetown College.


Monday, February 15th, 2010

It used to be that you had to be a special friend of Toyota — or an area student on a field trip — to score a tour of the Toyota’s Gibson County manufacturing plant in Indiana…That changes Tuesday!tundra explosion picture

On Tuesday, Toyota opens its new Visitors Center and begins offering public tours on a regular schedule. Previously, tours were offered only to school groups or those with ties to the company.

Toyota says the move will help the public better understand the company, area commerce and tourism. Officials say it will strengthen the Tri-State’s list of attractions.

“We’re very eager to show off this facility,” says a senior vice president at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana. “I think it’ll help people understand the complexity of auto manufacturing.”

The Free Tours begin in Toyota’s Visitors Center. Through text, photos, artifacts, sound and hands-on activities, the center presents the history of the Princeton-area business community, Toyota’s development as a company and explains the manufacturing process. Visitors can try on the protective gear worn by production employees, and they can see a demonstration of the process through which Toyota makes plastic bumpers and dashboards.

A Major Feature Highlight at the Visitors Center is a 2008 Toyota Tundra pickup suspended from the ceiling. WOW!!!…Just look at the picture of it. Various components of the vehicle are pulled apart to reveal how parts fit together. Also in the Visitors Center is a second-floor meeting space that Toyota will offer free of charge to civic and nonprofit organizations.

After visitors watch a short movie, they board a tram for a 20-minute plant tour.

On the tour, visitors watch Toyota employees (and robots) weld, stamp and assemble the parts that create the plant’s Siennas, Highlanders and Sequoias.

At a preview event last week for invited guests, tourism and commerce officials said the tours have been long anticipated.

The Gibson County Chamber of Commerce, said their office regularly receives queries from people asking about Toyota tours. “Everyone is very curious about auto assembly plants. They’re really fascinating,” a spoksman said.

Toyota’s Princeton plant began operations in 1998 — so why wait until now to offer public tours?

The company first wanted to establish itself in the area. “It was something we knew we had to take a little time to grow into,” an official said.

Groups of 16 or more people must make a reservation to take a plant tour. To make a group reservation, please call us at (812) 387-2266 or (888) 696-8211 (88TOYOTA11).

Groups with fewer than 16 people are welcome to join a plant tour if space permits; however, reservations are recommended. To make a reservation, please go to Reservations.

You do not need a reservation for the Visitors Center.