Toyota has announced that it will be making a $100 million investment in its Princeton, IN factory in a bid to increase production of its popular Highlander CUV. The move will create 300 new jobs by 2016 and increase the total number of crossovers the plant can produce by 30,000.

Toyota currently builds the Highlander, alongside the fullsize Sequoia, at Toyota Indiana's West Plant. The additional capacity, though, will be sent to the East Plant, which is currently responsible for production of the recently refreshed Sienna minivan.

"The Highlander has been a great product for our plant," Toyota Indiana President Norm Bafunno said in a statement. "Establishing Highlander as the 'bridge vehicle,' as we call it, between the East and West plants increases our ability to meet customer needs for our outstanding products. This exciting news is a true testament to the capability of our hard-working and dedicated team members."

Take a look below for the full announcement from Toyota.
Show full PR text
Toyota Indiana Adding 300 Jobs to Build More Highlanders

Popular SUV Added to Second Assembly Line, Improving Production Flexibility
August 22, 2014

PRINCETON, Ind., Aug. 22, 2014 – The regional economy is about to get a boost because Toyota Indiana is on the grow again. The plant will invest $100 million and add 300 jobs by summer 2016 to boost production of the popular Highlander midsize sport utility vehicle. This expansion will bring Toyota Indiana's overall investment to $4 billion. This step allows Toyota to utilize existing capacity in North America while providing additional flexibility to adjust our product mix to meet changing customer demand.

Since production of the third-generation Highlander began in the Indiana plant in December 2013, sales have been strong. From January through July 2014, Toyota sold about 90,000 Highlanders, an increase of 16 percent over the same period the previous year.

Currently, Toyota Indiana builds the Highlander only in the West Plant alongside the Sequoia full-size sport utility vehicle. To meet increasing demand for Highlander, annual production of up to 30,000 of the midsize SUVs will be added to Toyota Indiana's East Plant where the Sienna minivan is built.

"The Highlander has been a great product for our plant," said Toyota Indiana President Norm Bafunno. "Establishing Highlander as the 'bridge vehicle,' as we call it, between the East and West plants increases our ability to meet customer needs for our outstanding products. This exciting news is a true testament to the capability of our hard-working and dedicated team members."

Toyota Indiana, the sole producer of Highlander in North America, also exports it to Australia, New Zealand and Eastern Europe. Sienna is shipped to South Korea, Pacific islands and other countries, and the Sequoia is exported to the Middle East, making the Indiana plant a global supply base for SUVs and minivans.

"Indiana is a state that works when it comes to building the cars that keep America moving forward," said Gov. Mike Pence. "Hoosier-built products like the Toyota Highlander are known around the world for their precision and quality. And with suppliers in all corners of the state, Toyota is helping to strengthen and grow Indiana's economy."

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we have built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.


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  • 9 Comments
      19secondsslow
      • 4 Months Ago

      It's got a bin for your chicken.

      tenspeeder
      • 4 Months Ago

      anyone considering an RX350 should be looking at these. But of course without the Lexus badge they probably wouldn't want to be seen in it.

      Timothy Tibbetts
      • 4 Months Ago

      Looked at it. Too big for what I need but Toyota impressed me. Nice design, lots of tech inside and honestly priced as good, or better than the competition.


      Matt
      • 4 Months Ago

      The U.S. can't get enough of these 3-row crossovers, despite the fact that a minivan is typically a better alternative. 

      I just wish I could get a diesel 3-row from a non-luxury automaker. Looks like Mazda might be the first to deliver this option? If not Mazda, then I'll be waiting 3+ years for VW to get their sh!t together.

        Larry Litmanen
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Matt

        First of all diesel engine will cost more, it always does. Diesel itself costs more and the quality of life over the next 3 years that you will be driving a new car will be lower. If you are ready to buy now i assume you drive an older car, so while i can not put a $ value on quality of life it will also be lower due to the stress that comes with an older vehicle.


        Car are like phones, if you wait a year you will be able to buy a better car, but if you wait just 6 months more an even better car will be out there, but you may as well weight until the next gen to get the latest stuff.

          churchmotor
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen

          Matt, if you are comparing VW hybrid, I understand your distaste.  The Toureag Hybrid is only rated 20 city 24 highway.  Those number are no better than a gas power Acura MDX at 20 city 29 highway or the Highlander gas base model.

          Matt
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen

          We currently own a 2011 Touareg TDI with 73k miles, awesome vehicle. But family is growing and we need 3 rows. Unlike hybrids, the diesel option always wins out from a cost perspective, because the cost of the diesel option basically doesn't depreciate (or actually appreciates) for any modern vehicle. Just look at the Touareg used market; TDIs are in high demand, but you can't give away a gas or hybrid model. The fuel savings are just gravy, as is the joy of endless low-RPM torque. 

          Matt
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen

          Church, I wasn't explicitly comparing to the Touareg hybrid, which is a "performance hybrid" not aimed at efficiency. Hybrids, in general, depreciate like a rock. Diesels don't. Over the 3-6 years I would typically drive a car, diesel is always a more economical option than hybrid.