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Toyota Invests $600 Million In the Heartland, Verifies Its Loyalty

2017 Toyota Highlander

Toyota is planning a $600 million expansion of its Princeton, Indiana assembly plant to enhance production capacity and modernize the factory for the next-generation Highlander.

The company’s financial commitment underscores Toyota’s new and carefully domesticated image while serving to remind everyone that its cars are built in America for Americans — not unlike the company’s red, white, and blue display cars at this year’s North American International Auto Show.

“This announcement shows Toyota’s commitment to continued U.S. investment,� the company said in its official announcement. “This expansion is part of Toyota’s localization strategy to build vehicles where they are sold.�

It is difficult to blame Toyota for wearing its patriotism on its sleeve. President Donald Trump spent much of this week suggesting the imposition of tariffs on imported vehicles, and had previously criticized Toyota for its presence in Mexico. The company’s Tijuana factory, which produces the immensely popular Tacoma pickup truck, is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion.

The large U.S. investment will supposedly secure 400 American jobs and, according to Toyota, improve the plant’s annual capacity by a full 40,000 units. Along with the Highlander, the Sequoia SUV and Sienna minivan will also be produced in Princeton.

Over 400,000 units rolled out of the Indiana-based plant last year, the highest in its twenty year history. Likewise, the Highlander had its best year on record with 204,343 units sold in North America, and sales of midsize crossover have been climbing steadily since 2013.

[Image: Toyota]

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