Reports are emerging today that Toyota is considering producing its hybrid Prius in California at the joint-venture production facility it shares with General Motors. Called New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. or NUMMI for short, the facility currently produces the Toyota Corolla, Tacoma, Matrix and Pontiac Vibe. If Toyota decided to add the Prius to its list of production vehicles, it would mark the first time that the world's most popular hybrid has been assembled outside of Asia (it's currently built at facilities in both Japan and China).

Toyota has responded to the report saying that no decision has been made. If it were to happen, we imagine that GM's approval would also be required somehow. Nearly all of the Prius' major components would have to be shipped to Fremont, CA where NUMMI is located, but the surging demand for fuel efficient vehicles in the U.S., particularly the Prius, could make the whole idea worthwhile despite its costs. Also bear in mind that Toyota wants to sell 1 million hybrids per year by 2010. Both the Prius and its largest market, the U.S., are integral to reaching that goal. Regardless of whether its built at NUMMI or somewhere else, we expect the Prius to eventually be assembled on our shores sometime in the future.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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