The 2010 Toyota Prius will make its public debut at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, but we may have to wait longer to see the hybrid manufactured on our continent.
According to Automotive News, Toyota’s plans to build the next-generation Prius in North America – specifically, at a new plant in Tupelo, Mississippi – are in limbo. Construction work on the factory has been suspended, and Toyota has no timeframe on resuming construction.
The delay comes as Toyota’s global profits continue to fall in light of the global economic slowdown. The company, which has more than a dozen factory projects on its to-do list, has adjusted its fiscal year profit forecast to $6.6 billion – less than half of what was originally predicted.
The new plant was originally conceived to build the Toyota Highlander SUV, but sinking sales of crossovers and SUVs in North America prompted Toyota to use the facility to manufacture the gas-sipping Prius instead.
Toyota spokespeople say the plant will still manufacture the Prius, but the exact date for when the assembly line will come online is still unknown. The plant is approximately ninety percent complete, but the tooling hasn’t yet been purchased or installed.
Source: Automotive News