Toyota is struggling with the rising yen, so much so that the automaker has been shifting vehicle production outside of Japan. That's bad news for laborers in Japan, but it works out in favor of the American workforce in Princeton, Indiana.

That's because Toyota has announced that it will hire 400 more workers and spend $400 million to ramp up production of the popular Highlander. Toyota plans to ship off the extra production to buyers in countries like Russia and Australia. The plant expansion and additional jobs will enable the Princeton plant to crank out 50,000 additional Highlander models each year.

Toyota plans to complete the upgrades to the Princeton facility by late 2013. Hit the jump to read over the Toyota press release.
Show full PR text
Toyota to Increase Highlander Output, Including Hybrid and Exports, in Indiana
Project will create about 400 new jobs


ERLANGER, Ky. (Feb. 8, 2012) – Toyota will increase production of the Highlander mid-size SUV in late 2013 at the company's Princeton, Ind. plant. Hybrid and export versions will be included. The project is expected to create approximately 400 new jobs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc. (TMMI).

The company will invest about $400 million to support global demand for the Highlander, which will no longer be built in Japan by late 2013. Toyota builds Highlander in China for that market only. Annual Highlander production volume is expected to increase by approximately 50,000 units at TMMI.

Highlander is currently sold in Russia and Australia, and TMMI will export to those countries.

"This project allows for better utilization of the Indiana plant and will help Toyota capitalize on the improving North American and global auto market," said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. "In addition to new jobs at the Indiana plant, this project will increase opportunities and jobs for our North American supply base."

"This project is part of our localization strategy to build vehicles where we sell them," said TMMI President Norm Bafunno. "This announcement is a vote of confidence from Toyota Motor Corporation in the abilities of our team members and this plant."

TMMI currently employs 4,800 and builds the Highlander, Sequoia full-size SUV and Sienna minivan.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      That can put 'em on the ships heading back to OZ after dropping off our Caprices. Imagine that - Importing Chevys and Exporting Toyotas.
      MrWhopee
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ha! Australia isn't exactly a country with weak currency anyways, Australian dollars have been rising steadily against the US dollars. But I guess at this point anything is better than Japan?
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can someone explain why Toyota makes a Highlander and a three-row Rav-4 and a 4-Runner all at the same time? Size, interior space, economy.... I know the 4-Runner is supposedly 'truck-based' but it takes 15 years for any 4-Runner to get back into the woods. Before then, they stay on the pavement like the other two.
      fat kid
      • 2 Years Ago
      can't wait for the 3rd gen Highlander next year
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @fat kid
        lol@your logic Just because the current 2nd generation Highlander has been in production for 5 years, doesn't mean it's going to be redesigned next year. Same goes for any car. I remember your post about how some models have been around for longer than 5 years before a redesign. I can see straight through your trolling.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          [blocked]
      Ace Convoy
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is still one of the sharpest of Toyota Suv's on the road...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ace Convoy
        [blocked]
          billy bob
          • 2 Years Ago
          This coming from a guy who probably drives a Chevy Cavalier. SUV is simply a term used for a tall Station Wagon. It, in no way refers to an off-road vehicle. Get it right before you make stupid comments that make you look foolish
        Firefly
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ace Convoy
        If THIS is an SUV, then Courtney Love is an opera singer. This is a CUV at best. SUV's (real ones, anyway) have a notorious habit of being built from truck platforms. A crossover is built off of a car or wagon (there's that word again...) platform because they were not meant to suit the habits of serious work and/or off-road usage. It's a jacked up Camry with a bit more leather and a bigger trunk...nothing more...
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Firefly
          [blocked]
      CarCrazy24
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good, send them all away
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      AngeloD
      • 2 Years Ago
      The more I see of vehicles like the Highlander, the more I am convinced that we have returned to the styling excesses of the 1950's. The Highlander just needs a little more pronounced swoop to the rear quarter panel and the "tail fin" look would be complete. Hey Toyoda-san, how about some chrome "bombs" on the front bumper like Buick's Roadmasters of the 50's?
        scooter
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AngeloD
        I think you mean "dagmars" on the front bumpers.
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's popular because nobody wants the pig-of-an-suv Land Cruiser anymore. Went from a perfectly capable all terrain vehicle to the "Americanized grocery getter".
      Steve
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is good news, but I doubt this is what future holds for our country. Here's my hypothesis, globalization continues to evolve, and our nation is set to specialize in being the brains behind designing products (whether we like it or not). Labor jobs will stay around but the numbers will shrink significantly for future generations.
      Elmo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought Australia already got the Highlander, renamed as the Kluger.
      techie69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sharp looking and took 3rd on 9-SUV seven-seater comparo by Motortrend. Some of the key words described by the auto editors were surprisingly agile and quick, loosing on time trials to the winner of the auto comparo, the Mazda CX9 who had a larger engine. Of course the subpar, Explorer took last place as well as the GM brands were below it. The consolation spot for the Traverse was it placing ahead of the Honda Pilot,the only 8-passenger suv in the comparison.
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        @techie69
        It's "surprisingly agile" because it's way smaller than the average 7-passenger crossover. And while the Explorer took last place from Motortrend, it came in first among Crossovers in Edmund's test and its sales numbers have been fantastic.
          techie69
          • 2 Years Ago
          @merlot066
          The Highlander had same comparable room and better mpg in the city where crossovers mostly thread. In regards to the Ford model, it has enjoyed initial success in sales due to exceesive incentives, something of an unusual by the marketing dept. given the newness of the vehicle and a factor that is likely to reflect in the trade-in.
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