Toyota announced yesterday it plans to expand its Princeton manufacturing facility in Indiana, and will add 400 jobs with it. The added support will increase production of the Highlander and Highlander hybrid. The Highlander is currently exported to Russia and Australia, and the Indiana production facility will be in charge of assembling these vehicles.
The Japanese auto maker will invest $400 million into Toyota Motors Manufacturing Indiana with $131 million of that going to the Princeton facility to consolidate Highlander production. Workers are expected to begin their new jobs next year with production of the Highlander scheduled to start in late-2013. The added help is necessary as Toyota has forecasted the Highlander’s volume to increase by 50,000 units.
“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.”
Currently, TMMI houses around 4800 employees who build the Sequoia full-size SUV, Sienna minivan, and now the Highlander as well. The Princeton facility, which opened in 1996, was originally tabbed to help meet the full-size truck demands of the 1999 and 2000 model year Tundra.
“This project is part of our localization strategy to build vehicles where we sell them,” said Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana President Norm Bafunno. “This announcement is a vote of confidence from Toyota Motor Corporation in the abilities of our team members and this plant.”
What do you think about Toyota deciding to build its entire Highlander lineup solely in America? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.