Toyota makes $1.33 billion investment in Kentucky plant

(Reuters) - Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T said it is spending $1.33 billion in its Kentucky plant as part of a plan to invest $10 billion in the United States over the next five years.

The investment in the plant, Toyota’s largest, comes amid uncertainty over U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade policies that could affect certain Japanese firms’ capital expenditure plans.

Trump criticized the automaker earlier this year and said he would impose a hefty fee if it built its Corolla cars for the U.S. market at a plant in Mexico.

Toyota joins a host of automakers including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCHA.MI, Honda Motor Co 7267.T and Daimler AG DAIGn.DE that have announced investments in the United States since Trump won the U.S. election.

Even U.S. car manufacturers Ford Motor Co F.N and General Motors GM.N have announced plans to spend more domestically.

“Toyota’s decision to invest $1.3 billion in their Kentucky plant is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration”, Trump said in the statement issued by Toyota.

Toyota said that the investment would help in its new production process that would allow for a more flexible production environment, helping its build better cars and respond quicker to customers.

The Kentucky plant employs about 8,200 workers and Toyota recently booted the count by more than 700 ahead of the launch of the new version of Camry.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Savio D’Souza