After going back and forth for more than five years, Toyota is moving closer to a decision to produce its Prius hybrid in the United States — but not until the next generation arrives.
Although it had initially planned to build the current-generation Prius in its Mississippi manufacturing plant, Toyota has offered a number of reasons why it hasn’t happened yet. First, it was rumored that Priuses would be produced at the now-defunct GM-Toyota NUMMI venture in California. Then, plans to build the Prius anywhere in America were shelved, and the plant was reserved for future Corolla sedan production. And nearly two years ago, it was the manufacturing plant itself — originally meant for the Highlander midsize SUV — that was put on hold.
A recovering economy, however, has prompted Toyota to reconsider building the Prius in the U.S., but it will wait until the next-generation model arrives, likely in 2016. Although still wary of a slow path to recovery, increased production capacity would allow Toyota to hit higher sales targets.
What do you think? Will a locally produced Prius play with the eco-conscious?
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)