To help meet demand for its popular Prius hybrid, Toyota is looking at California as a possible manufacturing location. The NUMMI plant may be under consideration if Toyota decides not to build a new facility. New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc, a joint venture plant with GM in California, currently builds the Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix twins as well as the Corolla and Tacoma. With a hybrid version of the next Corolla in the works, building the Prius at the same facility would make perfect sense. In fact, Toyota will be building the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid in the U.S., and any future hybrid full size truck will be built here too. Perhaps Toyota could source hybrid components from a 'local' supplier, or a foreign supplier with operations in the U.S. That is probably just wishful thinking on my part, because most hybrid components are relatively easy to transport internationally. I also wonder about the need for a hybrid Corolla. I thought the Prius was already Toyota's compact hybrid vehicle. Creating a hybrid version of the Corolla is counter to Toyota's ideal method of hybrid product development. The next generation Corolla will probably follow Toyota's trend to increase interior accommodations, and it may move slightly up market. The Scion brand has the entry level customers covered. This would technically make it possible to market a hybrid Corolla as the top of the line model, the power of a V6 with the fuel economy of a four cylinder. Subsequently, such marketing is in line with latest trends to focus on hybrid performance advantages instead of fuel economy alone.


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