As consumer demand for Toyota’s Highlander continues to grow, the company’s Princeton, Ind., plant is planning to grow with it. Toyota announced it will increase production of the Highlander mid-size SUV in late 2014 with a $30 million investment in Princeton.
The project will create more than 200 new jobs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc. (TMMI), with new team members helping to increase production volume by 15,000 units. This expansion raises total employment to approximately 4,700 and total plant investment to more than $4.2 billion.
Today’s announcement is Toyota’s 10th production increase announcement in the past 20 months including Toyota plants in Huntsville, Ala., Buffalo, W. Va., Georgetown, Ky., and Ontario, Canada. Cumulative investment total is approximately $2 billion, adding more than 4,000 jobs.
“This capacity increaseis to meet growing demand for the Highlander and is a part of our strategy to build vehicles where we sell them,” said TMMI President Norm Bafunno. “We appreciate our loyal customers who value the quality products our dedicated team members build in Princeton, and we’re excited to build even more Highlanders.”
Toyota’s Indiana plant builds a gas version of the popular Highlander and will begin producing the hybrid version before year-end. The new production volume added will be the gas model version. Soon, Highlanders born in Indiana will find new homes with drivers in Russia and Australia as TMMI is set to begin exporting to those countries later this year.
TMMI currently employs 4,500 team members and builds the Highlander, Sequoia full-size SUV and Sienna minivan. Current production capacity is 300,000 vehicles and will increase to 350,000 later this year as announced in February 2012. Today’s news raises TMMI’s annual capacity to 365,000 vehicles by late 2014.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and currently operates 14 manufacturing plants. There are more than 1,800 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America which sold over 2.3 million vehicles in 2012. Toyota directly employs nearly 39,000 people in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $24.5 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 $30 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 or www.toyotanewsroom.com.