The slumping American market of SUV forced Toyota in delaying the opening of the new Highlander factory in Mississippi, Tupelo, but this delay could turn out actually to be quite a blessing in disguise for this Japanese carmaker.
The factory opening delay pushed originally the all-new Highlander debut back 'till 2010, but some new plan moved the upcoming-iteration of the well known SUV to 2009.
Toyota will be moving production to the now-idled Princeton, Indiana factory,instead of waiting the new Tupelo factory to open up before making the upcoming-generation Highlander. The Princeton factory – that produces the Sequoia SUV and Tundra pickup – was idled in August 8th having no plans on resuming the production until the middle of November.
“We need to get those people working. That’s the bottom line,” Steve St. Angelo, the senior vice president for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., commented to Automotive News. “And that’s why it made more sense to send the Highlander to Indiana, because the tools are ready, and we can get those people working versus keeping it in Mississippi.”
In addition of getting the employs of Toyota back on making autos, this move will be saving Toyota the price of retooling the Mississippi factory only 1 year after it starts production, clearing also the production capacity on the Tupelo factory for the production of Prius.
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