Prius manufacturing headed to the U.S. for the first time
Responding to the global issues of oil supply and local sourcing, Toyota will produce the hybrid Prius in the U.S. beginning in 2010.
The company said Thursday it will build the Prius in 2010 at its new plant in Blue Springs, MS. Toyota already builds a hybrid version of the Camry sedan in the Georgetown, KY, plant that won the 2006 Plant Engineering Top Plant award. The Prius is the most popular hybrid car on the road in the U.S. and deamnd is high, but this is the first time the Prius will be manufactured in the United States.
As another indicator of the changing mood in the vehicle market, Toyota will also suspend production of its Tundra pickup truck in San Antonion and its Sequoia SUV in Princeton, IN.
According to a CNN/Money report , Toyota said it made the moves as U.S. demand for trucks and SUVs continues to decline. Toyota’s U.S. sales fell 21% in June compared with the year before, an even steeper decline than the industrywide slump of 18%. Sales of the Tundra were down 54% while sales of the Prius fell 34% as Toyota failed to keep up with growing demand.
“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, suppliers and communities where our plants are located,” Jim Wiseman, vice president for Toyota Motor engineering and Manufacturing North America, said in a statement.
Toyota has 13 North American plants and two under construction in Mississippi and Ontario, employing more than 43,000 workers.