According to AutoNews, Japanese automaker Toyota plans to move all of the Highlanders’ production to Indiana. This move is going to be made in order to localize the production of the vehicle for North America, as well as reduce the companies chances of being affected by exchange rates.
Highlander production has been in Indiana since last fall, but the company was still importing from a plant in Kyushu, Japan. These imports account for 17 percent of all Highlanders sold in the United States. Toyota now plans to stop the importation of vehicles and produce the SUV solely in Indiana, said Toyota spokesperson Paul Nolasco to AutoNews.
“This is part of our continuing trend to build more product where we sell,” Nolasco said.
So what is the affect of building its cars only in Indiana, rather than half and half? Simple, Toyota won’t be affected by rapidly fluctuating exchange rates.
Nolasco could not say when the shift would be complete, but in Japan, the Nikkan Kohyo business newspaper has reported that production of Highlanders will stop at Toyota’s Kyushu plant in August. The report also said that the production of the SUV in Indiana would increase to 2,000 units a month.
Sales of the Highlander were up 24 percent to 27,072 units in the first four months of 2010 and if this trend continues, this decision could be a wise one in terms of saving money.