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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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