As consumer demand for Toyota's Highlander continues to grow, the company's Princeton, Ind. plant is planning to grow with it.
Toyota announced Friday it will increase production of the Highlander mid-size SUV in late 2014 with a $30 million investment in Princeton.
The project will create more than 200 new jobs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc. (TMMI), with new team members helping to increase 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 tenth production increase announcement in the past 20 months including Toyota plants in Huntsville, Ala., Buffalo, W. Va., Georgetown, Ky., and Ontario, Canada.
Cumulative investment total is approximately $2 billion, adding more than 4,000 jobs.
"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 cars our dedicated team members build in Princeton, and we're excited to build even more Highlanders."
Toyota's Indiana plant builds a gas version of the popular Highlander and will begin producing the hybrid version before year-end. The new production volume added will be the gas model version.
Soon, 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.
Today's news raises TMMI's annual capacity to 365,000 vehicles by late 2014.
Evansville Mayor Winnecke released a statement congratulating Toyota on the expansion. Click here to read it.
Representative Larry Bucshon also released a statement in regards to Toyota's announcement:
"Today's announcement is great news for Southwestern Indiana. I want to thank Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana for their continued commitment to investing in our local economy and for creating much needed Hoosier jobs. I commend everyone at Toyota for their hard work and dedication and look forward to seeing their operation grow."
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