Though Toyota hybrid sales are dominated by the run away success of the Prius family, the Japanese automaker does have other hybrids in its stable. This includes the Highlander Hybrid which, at over $40,000 and with a 28 MPG highway/city/combined fuel economy rating, isn’t exactly on the top of the shopping list for many hybrid buyers. There must still be some demand out there though, as Toyota has announced plans – and jobs – for production of it here in the States.
Toyota said it plans to increase production of the Highlander mid-size SUV in late 2014 with a $30 million investment at its facilities in Princeton, Indiana. It will develop as a result of this spending increase 200 new jobs, “with new team members helping to increase production volume by 15,000 units. This expansion raises total employment to approximately 4,700 and total plant investment to more than $4.2 billion.”
As for the hybrid specific version of the Highlander, the Indiana plant reportedly will begin production of these before year’s end. Not all of these will likely be for just American drivers, as some Highlanders made in Indiana will end up being exported to places like Russia and Australia.
Besides Highlander models, Sequoia full-size SUVs and Sienna minivans are built in Indiana, with current production capacity at 300,000 vehicles. This will increase to 350,000 later this year, and with the addition of the Highlanders, will jump up to 365,000 vehicles by late 2014.
“This capacity increase is to meet growing demand for the Highlander and is a part of our strategy to build vehicles where we sell them,” said Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana President Norm Bafunno in a statement. “We appreciate our loyal customers who value the quality products our dedicated team members build in Princeton, and we’re excited to build even more Highlanders.”