Toyota to further hike Highlander capacity at Princeton site in 2014

Article by Anita Panait, on July 29, 2013

Toyota has disclosed that it will increase the output capacity for the Highlander, in addition to its current plan to hike production of the large crossovers in the next few months. The additional capacity plan, which will entail investments of $30 million, will result to another 15,000 units of capacity for the Toyota Highlanders at its Princeton site in Indiana in 2014.

The move is on top of a capacity increase that will occur later this year at Princeton that will add 50,000 units for hybrid Highlanders.

The two moves will give Toyota enough production capacity to sell 215,000 Highlanders and Sequoia sports utility vehicles every year.

Sequoia sales are likely to account for a small portion of the total sales figure. Toyota Motor Sales USA sold 61,771 Highlanders in the first half of 2013, compared with 57,444 units in the same period in 2012.

Part of the Highlander production volume will be exported to Russia and Australia beginning late 2013. In a statement released by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana Inc. in Princeton, the carmaker said the newest expansion plan will result in a factory that could build up to 365,000 crossovers and SUVs annually.

Norm Bafunno, president of the Princeton operation, remarked that the capacity increase was aimed at meeting growing demand for the Highlander. He added that it was also a part of Toyota’s strategy to build vehicles where they sell them.

Press Release

Toyota Invests Again in Indiana, Creating 200 New Jobs

As consumer demand for Toyota’s Highlander continues to grow, the company’s Princeton, Ind., plant is planning to grow with it. Toyota announced today 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.

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