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Toyota Motor Co.p., Asia’s largest automaker, will spend $80 million and create 50 jobs to move production of transmission gears to a West Virginia factory from Japan as the automaker’s U.S. sales increase.
The Buffalo, W.Va., plant will make gears starting in 2006 for models including Camry sedans, Sienna minivans and Lexus RX 330 sport utility vehicles, Toyota said Monday in a statement.

The expansion is the fourth for the engine and transmission factory, which opened in 1998 and will have more than 1,000 workers and total investment of about $800 million, Toyota said.

The automaker boosted first-quarter U.S. sales 14 percent, after reaching a record 1.87 million for all of last year. The Toyota City, Japan-based company’s U.S. market share rose to 11.9 percent last quarter from 9.3 percent four years ago, according to Autodata Corp. Toyota is fourth in U.S. sales.

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