Plans to build hybrid family car in USA shelved due to economic downturn
16 December 2008

Toyota has postponed plans to build the next generation of its Prius hybrid in the United States.

The £1bn project to build the Toyota Prius in a newly developed Mississippi factory will be shelved, with no specific timeframe for its completion.

UK sales of the Toyota Prius have remained relatively consistent, with sales up three per cent year-on-year. But worldwide sales have fallen by around 10 per cent, and the US market is down by nearly half; just 8660 units were sold in the US in November, down from 16,737 a year earlier.

The decision to suspend development of the plant comes amid growing uncertainty in the global car market and the continued fall in petrol prices, which has hit demand for electric and hybrid cars. Toyota is also wary of over-supplying what is soon to become a more competitive market with the imminent launch of the Honda Insight hybrid.

Once seen as financially beneficial, the Mississippi Toyota plant has become one of many financial burdens on the Japanese manufacturer. Toyota also has plans for more than a dozen factory projects, including new plants in Brazil and India.

Delays to the production of the new Toyota Prius are unlikely, but Toyota will resent the increased shipping and currency conversion costs associated with importing the Prius from Japan.

Toyota will finish the building work at the Tupelo plant, and has confirmed that staff already employed on the site in administrative and managerial roles will keep their jobs.

Toyota has stated its long-term plans to produce the Prius in the US remain, but that any decision will depend on market conditions.

George Barrow

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Comments
7

16 December 2008

I like the new prius go go toyota!!!!!!!!!!!!!

16 December 2008

These cars will one day seem like a very dated concept and a lot sooner than the petrol cars they were designed to replace. People will wise up to the overall effect to the climate of them i.e. not just the low emissions due to their operation but also their build and their disposal. Not to mention their God-awful design and quality. Yuck !

16 December 2008

I still think they will make a small Lexus Hybrid - maybe based on the current one?

Bring back steel wheels.

16 December 2008

What a shame..........not! There was me going to buy one, turn veggie and read the Guardian! "Toyota is also wary of over-supplying what is soon to become a more competitive market with the imminent launch of the Honda Insight hybrid." Isn't that the point when trying to be innotative in vehicle propulsion? I not a fan of Prius but at least it put hybrid tech and other innovations (hydogen) out there with the public. Going green will always fall 2nd to captalism (thats profound fro me at this tie of night mid-week!) All that carbon footprint usage in building a factory as well! I only believe hybrid best suited to small cars anyway.

17 December 2008

they could at least make it look like a car..............

17 December 2008

The original Prius was more a fashion statement than the future of motoring.

Now with Detroit under real pressure to come up with something truly innovative Toyota is wise to put its plans on hold for the moment.

17 December 2008

I'm really amazed that anyone ever bought one as you'd have to care tremendously about the climate (and be so misinformed to think you were actually helping by buying one). I mean when you factor in depreciation and the lower cost of fuel a 2nd hand Jaguar is a better buy in financial terms than one of those !

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