Along with the debut of its 2014 Highlander crossover, Toyota will be expanding production capability of its Princeton, Indiana plant with a $30 million investment and 200 new jobs.
Toyota clearly has high hopes for this new Highlander, which was introduced at the 2013 New York auto show and goes on sale in the first quarter of 2014.
The Princeton plant, called Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI), produces the Highlander, Sequoia, and Sienna models. TMMI is currently at a 300,000 vehicle annual production capacity, which will increase to 350,000 later this year and then 365,000 vehicles by late 2014 thanks to this expansion. The total number of employees at TMMI will rise to approximately 4,700 and the company has invested approximately $4.2 billion total in this plant since it was built in 1996. Last year, Toyota sold 121,055 copies of the 2013 Highlander in the U.S.
Other Toyota production facilities in North America include plants in Huntsville, AL; Buffalo, WV; Georgetown, KY; and Ontario, Canada.
Whereas the outgoing Highlander was produced in Japan as well as at TMMI, the 2014 Toyota Highlander will be built exclusively in Indiana. The 2014 Highlander will also be exported to Russia and Australia.
Like the outgoing model, the 2014 Toyota Highlander will be offered with a 3.5-liter V-6 or a hybrid powertrain. Pricing has not yet been announced, but production should start later this year. We’ll see if the increase in production capacity at TMMI coincides with strong sales for Toyota’s newest crossover offering.