Toyota Material Handling breaks ground on company’s new manufacturing facility

Mike Wolanin | The Republic Jason Hester, president of the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation, Brett Wood, president and CEO of Toyota Material Handling North America, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Bill Finerty, president and CEO of Toyota Material Handling, and Tony Miller, senior vice president of operations, engineering and strategic planning for Toyota Material Handling North America, pose for a photo during a groundbreaking ceremony for Toyota Material Handling’s new electric forklift plant expansion at Toyota Material Handling North America in Columbus, Ind., Wednesday, May 29, 2024.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A Columbus-based company that has helped fuel the local economy for three decades celebrated its move into a more electric-centric future on Wednesday.

Officials from Toyota Material Handling (TMH), the city, state legislature and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb put shovels in the dirt in the groundbreaking for the company’s new 295,000 square-foot manufacturing facility on Wednesday morning.

TMH is investing nearly $100 million into the facility focused on the production of electric forklifts, directly north of their current facility where they first broke ground 35 years ago this month.

TMH Senior Vice President of Operations, Engineering and Strategic Planning Tony Miller has said in city meetings leading up to the groundbreaking that electric forklifts currently make up 65% of the North American market, and with the institution of the new facility, company officials hope that share grows to 80% by 2030.

“We are excited about this significant strategic expansion to our Columbus campus,” Miller said. “At Toyota, we will always be driven by what is best for our customers. Electric products are more popular than ever, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to keep up with increased demand. This new factory will allow us to deliver those electric units to customers faster than we can today.”

The expansion will create 85 jobs at an average wage of $28.88 and retain the current 1,883 workers. The new employees are expected to be hired by 2026, with the hope being that production at the new facility begins in June 2026, per TMH.

“We hope this announcement shows our industry-leading dealer network and our customers that we are a proactive company, not a reactive one,” TMH North America President and CEO Brett Wood said. “We do not just plan for next week or next year we’re preparing for the next decade, and this new initiative perfectly represents our commitment to that strategy.”

Coming off the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500, Wood introduced Holcomb by way of comparing the IndyCars that roared Sunday with TMH’s vehicle of choice.

“Our forklifts, they might go about 15 miles per hour, maybe downhill a little bit, so they’re maybe not the fastest vehicles you’ve seen in the last couple of days, but they’re the strongest— and they can pick up a lot of weight, they can pick up an IndyCar without a problem,” Wood said.

Nearly two years ago, Holcomb stood in what would become NexusPark to announce projects across the state approved for economic developments funds. Wednesday he spoke in TMH’s rotunda nearing the end of his two terms as governor praising Toyota’s continued investment in the region.

“It’s always good to be back in these neck of the woods,” Holcomb said. “Always something good going on to celebrate and this is just yet another reminder of the momentum that we’re feeling throughout the state of Indiana.”

Company officials say, including the new facility, TMH has completed more than 15 total expansions, with over $400 million in total investments.

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