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Toyota Expects Next Prius Model To Be Built In U.S.

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On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 2:26PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Toyota Expects Next Prius Model To Be Built In U.S.

According to a Toyota executive, the fourth generation Prius model may be manufactured in the United States. Toyota had historically planned to produce the Prius at its Mississippi plant, but decided to build the Corolla there instead.

"The main components for the Prius—such as the motor and battery—are not mature enough for local production," Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi said. "We expect that they'll be ready with the next remodeling."
The exact location for the new site for the 2016 fourth generation Prius production has not yet been announced. 

"If you look at unemployment, housing, and other economic indicators there's not much good news. I think it will take time for the market to recover," Niimi said, adding he did not agree that the U.S. market could bear above 12 million units in 2011.

The history of Prius production has a strong connection to the rising fuel prices which resulted in a shortage of Priuses back in 2008 when Toyota announced that the best selling hybrid would be built at a new plant in Mississippi. The Blue Springs plant had originally been intended for building the Highlander SUV, but as the market demanded more Prius models due to soaring prices at the pumps, Toyota changed its plan.


 

After the recession, Prius sales started to plummet and Toyota put plans for producing the Prius in the United States on hold as the Highlander production was moved to Illinois where the Tundra pickup truck had been manufactured.

Currently, the only hybrid Toyota being produced domestically is the 2010 Camry hybrid, which is built along with other Camry models in a Kentucky plant. When Atsushi Niimi, the executive vice president, stated the electric components of the Prius were "not mature enough for local production," itpointed outanInteresting concept, since Ford Motor Company has been producing hybrid components in the United States since as far back as 2004.


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