2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

It wasn't so long ago that Toyota was making big waves over plans to build the hybrid Prius here in the U.S. The company had originally planned to start cranking out the battery-powered people mover at its Mississippi manufacturing facility, but after GM pulled the NUMMI plug, Toyota was forced to move Corolla production to plant instead. That doesn't mean there won't be room for the Prius down that way in the future, though.

According to Reuters, Atsushi Niimi, the company's executive vice president, said that production of the hybrid could shift to the Mississippi plant when the car undergoes its next revision. Thing is, that won't be for another six years.

Niimi said that the car's production isn't likely to move until the fourth-generation Prius hits the assembly line, which is expected to be somewhere around 2016. Why the delay? Toyota doesn't see the American auto market – or even the economy as a whole – recovering any time soon. While some analysts have said that buyers in the land of the free would snap up 12 million cars and trucks next year and 14-15 million the year after, Toyota says it's not so convinced.

Photos by Sam Abuelsamid / Copyright ©2009 Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: Reuters]

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