Toyota has announced that it will be producing American-market versions of its third-generation Prius in Mississippi.
Still under construction, the new Mississippi plant was originally intended to build the Highlander SUV, but with demand for big 4x4s falling in the ‘States, Toyota has taken the decision to shift American production of the Prius there. Cars will be built there for the US market, but those for other markets – including the UK – will still be built in the Tsutfumi factory in Japan.
The third generation of Prius goes on sale early next year, with the first two generations having now sold over one million units since production began in 1997. Localising production in the ‘States will help protect Toyota from the weakening value of the dollar on international currency markets.
Production of the Highlander will now be shifted to Toyota’s established Indiana plant. And while hybrid production is predicted to continue to grow, Toyota is being forced to cut back production of its gas-guzzling American models. In August the company has announced that production of the Tundra pick-up will be suspended for three months as a result of sliding sales.