Princeton To Provide More Indiana-Built Highlanders

Toyota announced on Friday that it will increase production of the Highlander mid-size SUV in late 2014 with a $30 million investment in Princeton.

The company’s Indiana plant builds the American gas version of the Highlander and will begin producing the hybrid version before year’s end.

Toyota said the project will create more than 200 new jobs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc. (TMMI), with new team members helping to increase total production volume by 15,000 units.

This expansion raises total employment to approximately 4,700 and total plant investment to more than $4.2 billion.

Friday’s announcement is Toyota’s 10th production increase announcement in the past 20 months including Toyota plants in Huntsville, Ala., Buffalo, W. Va., Georgetown, Ky., and Ontario, Canada.

“This capacity increase is to meet growing demand for the Highlander and is a part of our strategy to build vehicles where we sell them,” said TMMI President Norm Bafunno. “We appreciate our loyal customers who value the quality products our dedicated team members build in Princeton, and we’re excited to build even more Highlanders.”

Toyota said Highlanders born in Indiana will find new homes with drivers in Russia and Australia as TMMI is set to begin exporting to those countries later this year.

TMMI currently employs 4,500 team members and builds the Highlander, Sequoia full-size SUV and Sienna minivan.  Current production capacity is 300,000 vehicles and will increase to 350,000 later this year as announced in February 2012.

Friday’s announcement raises TMMI’s annual capacity to 365,000 vehicles by late 2014.