Toyota Canada to add 800 jobs

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Toyota Canada has announced plans to hire 800 people at its Woodstock, Ont., plant as it ramps up production of the RAV4.

The company said adding the second shift to the plant next March would boost total Canadian employment to 6,500 people. Some industry observers are looking at the announcement as a sign of good times ahead for the Canadian auto industry.

A greater workforce will increase RAV4 production to 150,000 vehicles at the plant, which also builds the Matrix, Lexus RX350 and the Corolla.

Today’s news comes almost a year after the plant was officially opened. At the time, global auto sales were starting to slide as world economies fell into one of the worst recessions in history.

“Thanks to the high demand for this popular vehicle, we are able to increase production in Woodstock,” Ray Tanguay, president of TMMC said in a release. “We are very pleased to be able to continue our growth and provide jobs in the local community… this move demonstrates Toyota’s continued commitment to North American production and to building where we sell.”

Despite slumping sales worldwide throughout 2009, Toyota’s RAV4 is one of two units in the Japanese automaker’s lineup to post sales gains in 2009.

November sales alone saw it jump 35 per cent.

Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade for Ontario added, “The increase in RAV4 production means the addition of a second shift in Woodstock, the creation of 800 new jobs, more work for the entire supply chain - and most importantly it means that Toyota has confidence in Ontario’s workforce and business climate.”