Toyota delays launch of U.S. crossover plant

Toyota said today that it will delay the launch of its new Highlander crossover assembly plant in Mississippi by five months. Toyota’s spokesman says the decision comes in response to the sluggish market conditions, especially in the SUV segment.

The new plant will open in May 2010 with a lower production volume than originally planned. Instead of operating at 150,000 units a year, the Tupelo plant will produce 120,000 units annually.

“This will give us some breathing room,” said Victor Vanov, a spokesman for Toyota’s U.S. production company.

Vanov said that Toyota will increase production level back to 150,000 units once the U.S. market conditions improve.


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