ERLANGER, Ky. (Feb. 8, 2012) – Toyota will increase production of the Highlander mid-size SUV in late 2013 at the company’s Princeton, Ind. plant. Hybrid and export versions will be included. The project is expected to create approximately 400 new jobs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc. (TMMI).
The company will invest about $400 million to support global demand for the Highlander, which will no longer be built in Japan by late 2013. Toyota builds Highlander in China for that market only. Annual Highlander production volume is expected to increase by approximately 50,000 units at TMMI.
Highlander is currently sold in Russia and Australia, and TMMI will export to those countries.
“This project allows for better utilization of the Indiana plant and will help Toyota capitalize on the improving North American and global auto market,” said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. “In addition to new jobs at the Indiana plant, this project will increase opportunities and jobs for our North American supply base.”
“This project is part of our localization strategy to build vehicles where we sell them,” said TMMI President Norm Bafunno. “This announcement is a vote of confidence from Toyota Motor Corporation in the abilities of our team members and this plant.”
TMMI currently employs 4,800 and builds the Highlander, Sequoia full-size SUV and Sienna minivan.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and currently operates 14 manufacturing plants here. There are more than 1,800 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America which sold nearly 2 million vehicles in 2011. Toyota directly employs more than 35,000 in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $23 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 nearly $25 billion. Toyota currently produces 12 vehicles in North America, including the Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Sienna, Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza and the Lexus RX 350. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com