Toyota has decided to shift production of all non-hybrid Highlander crossovers for the North American market to its Princeton, Indiana assembly plant. The move is intended to help shield Toyota from fluctuating exchange rates. When Yoshimi Inaba took over as president and COO of Toyota North America a year ago, one of his stated aims was to increase North American production of Toyota and Lexus vehicle above the 60 percent level.
Toyota originally shifted production of the Highlander to Princeton after it consolidated production of its slow-selling Tundra pickups in San Antonio and the new Mississippi factory was put on hold. Because most of the hybrid powertrain components are supplied from Japanese factories, the gas-electric Highlanders will continue to be sourced from Toyota's Kyushu factory. Production of non-hybrid Highlanders for North American export is expected to end in August.