Toyota Motor Co. plans to move production of the hybrid version of its Highlander SUV from Japan to an assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana, the company’s top North American executive said during an appearance at the Chicago Auto Show.
The move will be part of a broader – and ongoing shift in production out of the Japanese home market. It is likely to transform the U.S. into a major export base for the Japanese giant and it could eventually result in Toyota bringing production of the popular Prius hybrid to the U.S. as well, said Yoshi Inaba, president and chief operating officer at Toyota Motor North America.
That’s good news for the U.S. economy, in general, and the Princeton community, in particular. Speaking to a special meeting of the Economic Club of Chicago, Inaba said that by moving the Highlander Hybrid to Indiana – while also expanding production of the conventionally powered van – Toyota will ill create an additional 400 jobs at the plant, which will undergo a $400 million upgrade.