Toyota Motor Corp. will make a $100-million investment to hike output of the Highlander at its Princeton site in Indiana as the crossover has been reaching the production ceiling at the facility. Once the investment is completed, the site will be capable of producing 30,000 more Highlanders every year.
It will also lead to hiring of 300 workers to the site existing workforce of about 4,500 people. Toyota saw sales of the Highlander surge 18 percent in the first seven months of 2014 to 81,374. The figure excludes a small yet declining volume of Highlanders imported from Japan.
The production increase, however, will not hike the overall capacity of the Indiana site at 365,000 vehicles annually. The project, however, will expand Highlander to both of the site’s two assembly lines.
The site currently builds Highlanders and Sequoia SUVs on one assembly line and the Sienna minivan is built on the second. Toyota spokesman Mike Goss remarked that expanding the Highlander to both lines will give the carmaker more flexibility and capacity in producing the crossover.
He noted that demand for the Highlander is strong and Toyota needs it. Princeton was originally Toyota’s key truck site. Following a slump in truck and SUV sales in 2008, Toyota reorganized its truck production, and consolidated all Tundra output at a site in San Antonio.