Toyota Delays US Prius Factory

A planned Mississippi plant is on hold as market for autos weakens
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2008 8:02 AM CST
Toyota Delays US Prius Factory
2008 Honda Accord Coupes move down one of the assembly lines during production at Honda of America Manufacturing's Marysville Auto Plant in Marysville, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

It’s not just the Big Three. Toyota has delayed indefinitely the opening of a Prius factory near Tupelo, Miss., the Wall Street Journal reports, in the wake of plummeting demand. The factory was originally intended to build the Highlander sport-utility vehicle; when gas prices hit a high last spring, it was switched to the Prius hybrid. The Prius will now continue to be produced only in Japan.

Toyota's US sales for November plunged 34% from a year earlier, and global profits in its fiscal second quarter shed 69%, causing the company to cut its full-year profit forecast by half. Honda announced a fourth round of North American production cuts Friday, bringing the total number of vehicles cut to 175,000, and GM has cut 250,000 vehicles, or 30% of its North American volume, as it awaits federal help. Still, BMW, Kia, and Volkswagen all intend to expand US production in coming years.
(More financial crisis stories.)

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