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Click above for more images of the 2010 Toyota Prius

In a move that's quickly becoming a distinct sign of the times, Toyota has officially announced that it will delay the launch of U.S.-built Toyota Prius at its upcoming Mississippi plant. The plant near Tupelo, which has so far cost the Japanese automaker about $300 million, is about 90% complete but has yet to be fully staffed in preparation of Job One, so it makes sense to suspend its start date instead of shuttering an already operating assembly line elsewhere. Workers already hired to fill various positions will not be let go. The decision was reportedly made just last night, though rumors of a delay of the plant's impending launch have been flying for weeks.

Toyota will launch an all-new Prius at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show. The 2010 Toyota Prius is expected to go on sale later in 2009, and with the delay of production in Mississippi, all new Prius hybrids will continue to be imported from Japan.

[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Now that is one chinsey,ugly,car.Why would anyone want one of those .Yuk!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The market has shrunk for now. It was artifically high for a couple of decades with easy credit. So the manufacturers over produced then financed the inventory. GM can not borrow money at 0% so there is no way they can sell a product and finance it for 0%. This has caught up with the world economy. People borrowed against over inflated home values, bought product like trucks and boats that depriciated faster than they could make payments on them. The US govermet is bankrupt, many american people are bankrupt.
      The easy credit is gone, the overvalued houses are on the auction block. The banks have gotten away with stealing billions of dollars of tax payers money, ceos made millions while you went broke, and lost your savings.
      Welcome to the new world economy where cash once again is King.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why would an import company keep the plant in Japan running at capacity when they could be operating thier new American plant and employing American workers? Saving shipping costs to the USA too.

      Just like the domestic manufaturers Toyota employs American workers and builds most of its cars in the US. But maybe, just maybe, the US plants are second fiddle to the plants in Japan?

      Am I mean for thinking this? No... The Japanese have more national pride than many Americans. While many Americans gleefully look forward to the demise of US manufacturing, the Japanese are doing what they can to protect thier own. I applaud them. I only wish Americans understood the importance of preserving our manufacturing base like other countries obviously do!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well said.
        First - keeping their Japanese employees at work is more important than their foreign employees.
        Second - I suspect toyota believes that the car market in NA will be smaller for some time to come. This sounds discouraging for the NA market, but as toyota has historically taken the long-term view on these things...
        • 6 Years Ago
        while it's true that honda makes most of the cars it sells in the US right here in the good ol' US of A, Toyota doesn't.
        • 6 Years Ago

        December 2007 one US dollar = about 115 yen
        December 2008 one US dollar = about 90 yen

        This should make Japanese imports more expensive to American buyers. Another reason the Prii should be built in the US and not Japan. Toyotas yens can afford more American labor/yen now than it could a year ago.

        This shows even more difinitively that the Japanese are protecting thier own. Thanks for the additional argument. I hadn't considered the exchange rate.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Why would an import company keep the plant in Japan running at capacity when they could be operating thier new American plant and employing American workers? Saving shipping costs to the USA too."

        Basic managerial accounting. Many if not post of the parts being assembled in the U.S. have to be imported from Japan. As for shipping costs, up to a point it's probably cheaper to ship a Prius from Japan in one piece than in 100 pieces. The issue is that "point" - with lower demand overall, i.e. Priuses and Camry Hybrids can be had at invoice once again, Toyota doesn't expect to sell enough Priuses to meet its breakeven point for the U.S. plant.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Toyota (including Lexus and Scion) built 1,164,284 domestic autos through November 2008. They imported 911,427. According to Toyota they built 56.1 percent of thier cars in North America. Therein lies the catch. Of those "domestic" autos, some are built in Canada. So you are correct and so is Toyota... depending how you count the Canadian made Toyotas.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You make some good points in your post, I will concede. But it still makes more sense to hold off opening a new factory *anywhere* and being able to avoid the new payroll, than to open up a factory that will likely have some expensive quirks to fix in the first few years and to contribute to the glut of supply right now. Even if it costs slightly more per unit to ship it from Japan, it's still far far less to avoid having to make payroll on all the Japanese workers while they idle and the Americans produce the car (possibly) for slightly less.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yay! Less ugly ass Prii on the road!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is this a job bank?
        • 6 Years Ago
        And when Unions are gone, It will be like "We want to build more cars here but it cost too much but if you take a pay cut then....."
      • 6 Years Ago
      They..........call it training.
      • 6 Years Ago
      With gas prices down, who wants butt ugly when you have a choice.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Amen Conundrum. We have plenty of Monday morning quarterbacks criticizing the the big 3 who don't know a thing about the auto industry. If any of the three manufacturers go under it will be devastating. Everywhere from the manufacturers themselves to their suppliers to the dealers, gas stations and Wal-Mart's everybody will be affected in some way. Toyota's are good cars they're highly over-rated. I like the Honda designs better. But I'm sticking with my Ford Ranger pick-em-up.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How can this beeeeee?????

      I thought they were selling all they could make.!!!!!!!!!

      Maybe the Fusion Hybrid is going to cut into their sales so they are holding back.

      Mid size 43 MPG compact 45 MPH. Looks like a no brainer.
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