Forget Horsepower, Toyota Indiana Plant Powered by People

Dedication, eye toward quality and safety results in 4.3 million
vehicles built past 20 years

PRINCETON, Ind.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Over the past 20 years, Toyota Indiana has built 4.3 million vehicles.
But it isn’t the planning, engineering, problem solving or high-pace of
the assembly line that stands out to Norm Bafunno, the plant’s
president. It’s the people.

“My first day on the job as president, a team member came up to me and
said she would like to talk about a policy the plant had. I thought to
myself, ‘oh boy, what’s coming next.’ As it turns out, it wasn’t
something she wanted changed that would benefit her, but, rather, she
wanted to donate her vacation days to another team member whose son was
sick and in the hospital. In a nutshell, that defines who we are.”

Today, the Princeton, Ind., plant celebrates 20 years of building
vehicles. What started as the original plant to make the Tundra, now
boasts the Sienna minivan, Sequoia full-size SUV and the Highlander and
Highlander Hybrid midsize SUV. In addition to a celebration concert for
team members in August and an open house planned for a later date, two
local non-profit groups received Siennas to mark the anniversary.

These vehicle donations highlight Toyota’s commitment to the future of
mobility—getting more people to more places, on the road and in life.
The Sienna minivans were given to Aurora Inc., an organization dedicated
to preventing and ending homelessness in the community, and the Gibson
County Counsel on Aging, a group that provides transportation to seniors
in need.

“This minivan will help us make an impact in the lives of people right
here in Gibson County by keeping them mobile,” said Michelle Fry,
executive director, Gibson County Counsel on Aging. “Our service is the
only way many of our seniors are able to get out to vital places such as
the doctor, pharmacy and grocery store.”

Since groundbreaking for that original Tundra in 1996, the plant and its
5,000 team members have plenty to celebrate:

  • $4.3 billion investment in the operation
  • 24,058 jobs in Indiana (including direct, intermediate and spin-off
  • 29 top vehicle picks by Consumer Reports
  • 11 J.D. Power Initial Quality Awards and 16 J.D. Power Vehicle
    Dependability Awards
  • 265,000 volunteer hours donated by team members and $23 million in
    donations to area groups
  • 3 expansions
  • Exports of vehicles to 27 countries

“From the first Tundra produced to the current vehicle line-up, we are
proud of the accomplishments of the Toyota Indiana team members,” said
Osamu “Simon” Nagata, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative
Officer of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. “It is clear the plant has a
long and bright future ahead.”

Orvietta Shannon joined Toyota before the plant opened as a human
resources specialist. It was through this role that she helped hire the
original team and says it was, and still is, like a family. Twenty years
later, Shannon works in Diversity and Inclusion and says TMMI’s first
class team is always thinking about how to improve the product.

“It really comes down to our culture,” Shannon said. “Our team members
have a special pride in their work and you see it in everything they do.
We talk about continuous improvement, and you see them constantly going
above and beyond to make things better.”

Bafunno, who started at TMMI 19 ½ years ago as a general manager, said
in addition to the dedicated team members, the plant’s suppliers and
community support played pivotal roles in helping the facility exceed

“Toyota Indiana has been a true community partner for twenty years,”
said Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb. “They continue to make important local
investments and provide a top-notch work environment for more than 5,000
Hoosiers, and we could not be more proud that they call Indiana home.”

And although TMMI has celebrated many milestones, team members say it
was during the tough times that people saw Toyota’s true commitment to
them. While idle for three months during the 2008 economic downturn, the
plant kept all of its workers, setting up classrooms and teaching them
skills needed for the future. Bafunno said those skills are still used
today and help propel the plant forward. Team members were also given
the option to volunteer at local non-profits and be paid by Toyota.

“Our team members’ capability to adapt and to learn and apply those
skills each day has enabled those results to occur,” Bafunno says. “It
not only helps establish a great reputation, but, also, really builds a
bridge to the future.”

About Toyota Indiana

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, home of the Highlander and
Highlander Hybrid midsize SUVs, Sequoia full-size SUV and Sienna
minivan, is located in Princeton, Ind. The company broke ground in May
1996 and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Nestled on 1,160 acres, more than 5,000 Toyota team members are employed
at the 4.2-million-square-foot facility, which has been a zero waste to
landfill facility since 2005.

More than 375,000 vehicles were produced at Toyota Indiana in 2015, and
more than 66,000 units were exported to more than 27 countries.

To date, Toyota Indiana has donated more than $23 million to nonprofit
agencies in the Tri-State and paid more than $119 million in local
property taxes.

Those interested in taking a tour of the plant may call the Visitors
Center at 888-696-8211 or go online at
to request a reservation. “Like” our Visitors Center by going to

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius and
the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the
way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion
brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 30 million cars
and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants
(10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than
34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the
U.S.) sold more than 2.8 million cars and trucks (nearly 2.5 million in
the U.S.) in 2015 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold
over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country,
with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this
commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from
building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other
nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about
Toyota, visit


Toyota Motor North America
Karen Johnston
External Affairs