Toyota Motor Corp. will make an investment of $400 million for its Princeton, Ind. site, including the production of the hybrid version of the Highlander crossover. Although the plant already builds the Highlander, it does not have the capacity to produce the hybrid version, which is currently built in Japan.
Toyota expects to complete the upgrade of the plant and commence production of the Highlander hybrid by late 2013.
By then, the number of Highlander produced at the Indiana site will increase by 50,000 units, and Toyota will cease producing the vehicle in Japan.
In 2011, The Indiana plant built 101,868 Highlander models, according to the Automotive News data center. Toyota is also producing the Highlander in China for the Japanese market.
Toyota is planning to source its entire Highlander hybrid from the Indiana site to various markets worldwide, according to Toyota Motor North America President Yoshimi Inaba, in his speech before the Economic Club of Chicago.
Inaba said that the $400 million capital injection into the Indiana plant will create an additional 400 jobs. Inaba added that the company expects to sell 50,000 Highlander hybrids worldwide in anticipation of a new hybrid system and higher fuel prices. Aside from the Highlander, Toyota also builds the Sequoia SUV and Sienna minivan at the Indiana plant.