The 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid gets 20/25 mpg. Photo courtesy of Toyota.

Toyota to boost Highlander production at Indiana Plant next year

Toyota announced plans today, pursuant to a $400 million investment and the cessation of Japanese fabrication during next year, to boost output of the Highlander, including hybrid and export models, at the Toyota Motors Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI) plant by another 50,000 units annually.

The Toyota Highlander is sold in the U.S., China, Russia and Australia. Only the models sold in China will be built there. The rest will be fabricated at the TMMI plant by late next year, opening up 400 additional jobs at the plant.

“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.”

The Indiana plant currently produces models of the full-size Sequoia and Sienna in addition to the Highlander, employing 4,800 American workers.

“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.”

We suspect the bailout of two of the American auto manufacturers has combined with the global economy and the Japanese natural disasters to make the Americas, including the U.S., an attractive environment for automotive manufacturing again.


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