Employees at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama work on an engine line in this undated photo.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing will be adding 450 new jobs as part of a $288 million expansion at its Huntsville plant, officials announced Thursday.

Officials said the announcement constituted the largest hiring need in the plant's history. The new investment will also include a building expansion, bringing TMM's total investment in Huntsville to $1.2 billion.

The facility's annual engine capacity will increase from 670,000 to 900,000 by the end of 2021 to increase product flexibility and better accommodate market demand, according to a press release.

Thursday's announcement was part of an overall $750 million investment Toyota is making at unit plants in five states. In addition to Huntsville, expansions are planned at Buffalo, West Virginia; Troy, Missouri; and Jackson, Tennessee.

The announcement also includes adding the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the best-selling SUV in the U.S., and Lexus ES 300 Hybrid vehicle production at its Georgetown, Kentucky, plant.

“These latest investments represent even more examples of our long-term commitment to build where we sell,” said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer for Toyota Motor North America. “By boosting our U.S. manufacturing footprint, we can better serve our customers and dealers, and position our manufacturing plants for future success with more domestic capacity.”

Thursday's announcement builds on Toyota’s presence in the U.S., which includes 10 manufacturing facilities. This past year, Toyota announced a joint venture with Mazda to build a $1.6 billion plant in Huntsville-annexed Limestone County that will create up to 4,000 new jobs. Production is slated for 2021.

“Toyota’s major new investment in its Alabama engine factory is a testament to the solid partnership we have formed with the automaker and to the high-caliber workforce it has found in the Huntsville area,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “We’re very excited about what the future holds for Toyota in sweet home Alabama and about the new jobs it is creating.”

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