Toyota starts building 2014 Highlander in Princeton, Indiana

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 9, 2013

Toyota Motor Corp. has commenced output of the 2014 Highlander large crossover at its Princeton site in Indiana. Due to the popularity of the Highlander, Toyota decided to invest $430 million in the Princeton site, resulting to the creation of an additional 600 jobs, the carmaker said in a statement.

Toyota saw its Highlander log a 6-percent surge in sales in the United States in the first 11 months of 2013 to 115,228 units.

Most of the jobs created at Princeton were new hires, and a site spokesman disclosed that almost all of the positions had been filled.

Toyota said it will export Highlanders from Indiana for the first time to Russia and Australia. Toyota also will build hybrid vehicles at the Princeton site for the first time.

The Princeton site has produced the gasoline-powered version of the Highlander since 2009, and the output of the hybrid version is expected to commence early next year. The Princeton site, located 114 miles west of Louisville, Ky., employs about 4,500 people.

Toyota Highlander revealed that it has released three new powertrains. The first is the four-cylinder 2.7-liter engine that has dual Variable-Valve Timing with intelligence or VVT-i, and a variable intake manifold. This controls the phasing on the intake and exhaust camshafts that can optimize both torque and its fuel efficiency.

The engine is paired with a six-speed and electronically control automatic transmission. The 3.5-liter V6 engine comes with the same features. Similar to the 2.7-liter engine, the 3.5-liter also improves acceleration and the fuel efficiency. Though it also has the same automatic transmission, it also offers a manual sequential shifting.

Under the Highlander Hybrid model, the 3.5 liter engine is partnered with a Hybrid Synergy Drive system with an electric drive motor-generator that gives higher torque to provide additional power and better fuel efficiency.

The Toyota Highlander offers dynamic driving experience and new technologies and features like the enhancements in the suspension performance, the electric power steering that has been optimized, and the Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive.

The shock absorbers and spring rates have also been tuned for optimum performance improving the handling quality of the car. The Toyota Highlander also features alloy 18-inch wheels with the option to upgrade to the 19-ich version, four-wheel disc brakes, double-wishbone rear suspension and the MacPherson strut front suspension.

Dynamic Torque Control (DTC) system can automatically shift the Toyota Highlander from being a front-wheel drive (FWD) to an AWD during acceleration or when its sensors identify wheel slippage.

Furthermore, the torque-distribution settings can be viewed through the meter display. The DTC AWD system monitors and controls constantly the transfer of the torque between the front wheels and rear wheels. This is done through an electromagnetically controlled coupling that has been positioned on the rear differential.

Press Release

Indiana Goes Green and Global with the 2014 Highlander

Our own Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) is proud to start production on the stylish and fuel-efficient 2014 Highlander. What makes this production so unique? Well in addition to producing the gas version, TMMI will now also produce a hybrid version of the Highlander for the first time.

TMMI team members and folks in the surrounding area have much to celebrate, as the popular midsize SUV is responsible for a $430 million additional investment and more than 600 jobs at the Princeton automotive plant.

These new Highlanders are also going global, as these vehicles will find new homes with drivers in Russia and Australia, further helping to capitalize on the improving North American and global auto market. Plus, in addition to the new jobs created at TMMI, this project increases opportunities and jobs for our overall North American supply base.

“The all-new Highlander is a dynamic, stylish SUV and its quality craftsmanship and the fact that it will be exported to the Russian and Australian markets is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team members,” TMMI President Norm Bafunno said. “This really is a milestone for our entire team,”

Representing a $4.2 billion investment, TMMI currently employs about 4,500. By the end of 2014,Toyota will directly employ 4,700 team members. The Princeton plant also produces the Sequoia full-size SUV and Sienna minivan.

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