Related News

Home » Business » Auto

Prius demand keeps Toyota factory busy

TOYOTA'S Tsutsumi plant was abuzz with drills and other machinery yesterday, with workers brought in from other, less busy plants to crank out the new Prius to keep up with bursting demand for the hybrid car.

But the Toyota Motor Corp executive in charge of production said plans to open a plant in the United States to build the third-generation model of the world's top-selling hybrid were still on hold.

The Prius has been a rare bright spot not just for money-losing Toyota but also for the overall auto industry, hammered by the global slump and US credit crunch. It was the top-selling model in Japan last month.

Still, worries about the US auto slump since the financial crisis hit last year were too great, Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada said. Originally, a Prius plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, had been due to be up and running by 2010, but such plans were still frozen.

"I am extremely unhappy with the situation," Uchiyamada said. "It all depends on how the economy recovers."

A plant to make the gas-electric hybrid involves more investment than a standard plant because the vehicle has more parts for ecological technology. Going ahead with such an investment is too risky until Toyota monitors the US market longer, he said at a reception in Toyota, the central Japanese city named after the auto maker.

Getting the US hybrid plant off the ground will take at least a year until a decision gets made, and so for some time to come, the Prius will continue to be shipped from this plant in Toyota city, one of just two plants in the world - both in Japan - that make the remodeled Prius.

Toyota said the two plants were making about 50,000 Prius cars a month, running at full capacity.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend