Big news from Toyota
this morning. The next gen Prius
is coming to America! Production that is. Toyota just announced that starting in late 2010, it would start building the Prius outside of Japan for the first time as production starts at a new plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi. When Toyota first announced the plant last year it was scheduled to build the Highlander
crossover. However, the collapse of sales of larger trucks and SUVs has hit Toyota just as hard as the domestic automakers. Sales of the Tundra
full-size pickup were down nearly 50 percent in June. As a result Toyota is shuffling around production of several vehicle lines. Toyota will start by suspending all production of Tundra pickups and Sequoia
SUVs along with the V8 engines that power them on August 8. Production of those products will resume in November. Next spring all full size truck production will be consolidated at the San Antonio Texas assembly plant. The truck line at the Princeton Indiana plant will be switched over to building Highlanders with production to start in the fall of 2009. That will free up the new Mississippi plant to build the Prius and possibly the Lexus
variant as well.