Toyota’s U.S. built Prius hybrid put on hold

Toyota announced yesterday that it is putting a hold on plans to build the Prius hybrid car in the U.S. as it cuts spending while it faces a decline in global profits. Production of the $1.3 billion plant near Tupelo, Mississippi has been frozen and Toyota has made no comment on when it plans to resume production of the facility.

Sales for the Toyota Prius have been sluggish as gas prices continue to decline after hitting a peak of more than $4 a gallon in the summer. Toyota sold 8,660 units of the Prius in November – down from 16,737 a year earlier.

According to Automotive News, Toyota said that it will eventually resume production of the plant which is about 90 percent completed. The Japanese automaker said that it has yet to order the equipment and tools for the plant. The facility has already hired about 100 people for administrative and management positions. Toyota said that “their jobs are secure.”

The third-generation 2010 Toyota Prius will make its debut at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.

2010 Toyota Prius: