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Toyota Will Build Highlander at New Mississippi Plant

TOKYO — To keep pace with booming demand in the U.S., Toyota Motor Corp. said on Tuesday that it has selected Blue Springs, Mississippi, as the site of its eighth North American vehicle production plant. The new plant will produce 150,000 Highlander SUVs per year when it opens in 2010.

2008 toyota highlanderToyota said plans call for an investment of $1.3 billion and the creation of about 2,000 new jobs in Blue Springs. It said the additional plant will bring Toyota's North American annual production capacity to 2.17 million vehicles.

The new plant helps Toyota accomplish several goals. First, it helps the automaker boost output to meet growing U.S. demand. Toyota imported 46 percent of the units it sold in the U.S last year. The new plant also helps the Japanese automaker reduce foreign-sourced vehicles, which it fears may trigger a political backlash, especially as domestic manufacturers scramble to shutter plants and lay off workers in the wake of declining North American sales. Toyota may claim the title of the world's biggest automaker from General Motors this year.

According to some estimates, Toyota will need to add one U.S. plant per year at its current rate of growth.

Near Tupelo, Mississippi, there were 144 people living in Blue Springs at the time of the 2000 U.S. census. Mississippi is also home to a Nissan vehicle plant, as the trend continues for the Southern states to be the new locus of activity for auto production in the U.S.

© Source: article on insideline
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