Despite denials from Toyota of Prius assembly expansion from Japan to the United States, we've now received official word that the 2011 Toyota Prius will be assembled in a yet-to-be-built plant in Blue Springs, Miss. beginning sometime during 2010. In addition, the fuel-hogging Highlander will see production shift to Indiana, and all Tundra pickups will have production moved to Texas. All your auto assembly is belong to the super number one best automaker from the land of the rising sun — but no word on solar panels. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Toyota to build Prius in U.S., Highlander to Indiana; all Tundra to Texas
July 10, 2008 - Erlanger, KY - Toyota is responding to changes in consumer demand and improving the production efficiency and stability of its North American operations by adjusting production mix at three plants. The changes include the addition of the Prius hybrid sedan to its North American lineup.
The changes are as follows:
- Prius will be built at a plant under construction in Blue Springs, Miss. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2010. Prius, which will join the Kentucky-built Camry Hybrid as the second Toyota hybrid built in North America, enables Toyota to better respond to increased consumer demand for hybrid vehicles.
- The Highlander mid-size SUV, originally scheduled to be built in Mississippi, will now be manufactured in Princeton, Ind., beginning in Fall 2009.
- Production of the Tundra full-size pick-up truck, currently built in Indiana and Texas, will be consolidated at the San Antonio plant in Spring 2009.
In addition, Toyota will temporarily suspend Tundra and Sequoia production beginning August 8 due to the declining overall market for full size trucks and SUVs. Production is scheduled to resume in early November. Team members at both facilities, as well as the Huntsville, Ala. plant that builds Tundra and Sequoia engines, will continue to be provided work.
"The truck market continues to worsen, so unfortunately we must temporarily suspend production. But this good news about production mix demonstrates our long-term commitment to our North American operations and to our team members, supplier partners, and communities where our plants are located," said Jim Wiseman, vice president/external affairs for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA). "By using this downturn as an opportunity to develop team members and improve our operations, we hope to emerge even stronger."
Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and currently operates 13 manufacturing plants. In addition, new plants are under construction in Ontario and Mississippi. Toyota directly employs over 43,000 in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $21 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals more than $30 billion per year. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com.