Toyota To Shift Highlander Production To U.S., Invest $400 Million

Earlier today at the Chicago Auto Show, Toyota announced that it is shifting production of Highlander SUVs from Japan to the car maker’s plant in Princeton, Indiana.

The move will result in 400 new jobs at the plant and an additional $400 million investment in the facility. Toyota expects this change will allow it to manufacture an additional 50,000 Highlanders a year, some of which are intended for export.

“We plan to export some of those Highlanders to other countries,” the Wall Street Journal quotes Toyota North America President Yoshi Inaba as saying. “Our exports of made-in-America products to 21 countries has topped 100,000 vehicles and we’ve just begun exporting American Camry sedans and Sienna minivans to South Korea.”

Inaba also said the company hopes it investment will lead to more jobs at the companies that supply parts used in the manufacturing of the Highlander.

Toyota to Shift Highlander Hybrid Production to U.S. From Japan [WSJ.com]

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  1. rmorin says:
    • maxamus2 says:

      I don’t find that odd at all. I’m sure they never would have moved there if they had to deal with unions.

      • rmorin says:

        That’s what I was getting at. If you look at any of the recent plants opening up (especially by foreign companies) they are almost exclusively in right-to-work states.

        Really, I don’t understand the argument against right-to-work. If the union is doing a good job, enough people will pay dues to support it.

        • Cat says:

          Having worked at non union jobs in both right-to-work and non right-to-work states, I assure you it’s about more than just unions. In “right -to-work” states, the whole system leans toward favoring businesses over workers rights.

          • rmorin says:

            (Not that I’m doubting you) But can you provide examples? I’ve always worked in non-right-to-work states, so I don’t really have an idea about what may go on behind the scenes.

            • DariusC says:

              Right to work means they have the right to fire anyone for any reason at any time and workers can quit for any reason at any time. Of course businesses have the advantage because they are the ones hiring, having the ability to release a costly asset (retiring employee, for example) is much more beneficial to them than your ability to quit when you want.

              • rmorin says:

                No it doesn’t mean any of that. You are thinking of “At-Will”

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment

                Right-to-work, means (heavily simplified) that you can not force someone to pay union dues by simply holding a position in a company.

                • Gandalf the Grey says:

                  You are correct. Indiana is also an At Will Employment state.

                  • rugman11 says:

                    Every state is an at-will state. It is a matter of American law that “any hiring is presumed to be “at will”; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals “for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all,” and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work.”

                    There are certain exceptions (43 states have whistle-blower exceptions while some states-including Indiana-have implied contract exceptions) but it is assumed that, barring a contract, any employment is at-will.

              • rugman11 says:

                rmorin is right. “Right-to-work” simply bans the practice of closed shops, where every employee must join the union and if an employee stops being a union member he can be fired even if he didn’t violate company policy.

                I live in a right-to-work state and I can’t be fired for just any reason. Why? Because I have a contract that lays out specific guidelines for when and for what reasons I can be fired. If my employer fired me for some reason that isn’t allowed by that contract, I can sue them for wrongful termination, even though I’m in a right-to-work state.

                • Powerlurker says:

                  Closed shop (only union members can be hired) has been banned everywhere in the US since 1947. “Right-to-work” prohibits agency shop (you must join the union within a certain amount of time or pay the equivalent dues thereof after you are hired).

        • mingtae says:

          I believe in people’s right to unionize but I feel like people should be able to choose whether or not they want to be part of a union at their job. I wouldn’t have been thrilled if my call center unionized because it wouldn’t benefit me after seeing what Verizon unions go through.

        • ToddMU03 says:

          Wrong. Honda opened a plant in Indiana recently before Right-To-Work. Subaru makes the Outback in Lafayette and has for many years. No correlation.

          • fredbiscotti says:

            Not mention all of the Honda and Toyota plants in Ohio, West Virgina and California.

          • nbs2 says:

            They also have a Camry line at SIA. I can’t remember if Toyota has any of its own plants in IN already, but this isn’t their first foray into Indiana car manufacturing.

      • James says:

        Except that they already have Camry’s being built in Indiana. Right along with Subarus too.

    • Cat says:

      Completely unrelated, I assure you.

      Nothing to see here, move along.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      From what I understand, the Toyota plant in Princeton isn’t Union, that shouldn’t make a difference.

    • scoutermac says:

      Toyota is not a union shop.

  2. scoutermac says:

    This is old news. Toyota moved the Tundra to Texas over two years ago so they could make room for the Highlander in the Princeton, Indiana plant. (Near Evansville, IN)

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      I laugh whenever someone says they would only buy a ‘Mercun Made Truck’ and put down Toyota. My GMC Sierra was made in Canada. My dad’s Tundra was made in San Antonio.

      • scoutermac says:

        I used to have a Chevy Monte Carlo that was made in Canada. My Toyota Camry was made in Georgetown, KY.

      • rugman11 says:

        A quick perusal of Ford production plants shows that the Ford Fiesta is produced in the following countries:

        Thailand, Taiwan, Germany, India, Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa, Mexico, Portugal, and Spain.

        But not in the US.

        • thekevinmonster says:

          On the other hand, the Ford Focus is made just a few miles from my house, in Wayne, MI. Tangentially interesting, there are 500KW worth of solar panels for the plant and they use decomposition gas from a nearby landfill for steam power and electrical power.

  3. bnceo says:

    I think people forget that corporations are not the only ones who can grow powerfuly and mighty and turn that to greed. Unions have some history of doing this. Sure in the beginning of the industrial revolution they did great things by bringing safety standards and legit pay raises.

    However, somewhere along the line, they thought they can totally change the very business they union for. And thus we have the Flint fiasco and others.

    Unions and corporations must work together and understand each other. It’s why my stepdad’s union is still kicking in NJ. Lots of working together and compromise.

    Anyways, like seeing American made products here. Overall, good deal.

    • rmorin says:

      I never understood unions. If a collective agrees that certain standards should be in place (hours, compensation, how one can be fired) why are they not laws?

      Instead you have a big business (unions) only protecting a priviledged group. It doesn’t really make sense. Why are not all workers covered?

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      The UAW is a prime example. I had several family members that worked for UAW shops, they voted some of the same leaders out 3 or 4 times because they would get put back into directorships by the new leaders.

      Some unions are cronyism at its finest.

      BTW, I believe that the ability to Unionize is a wonderful thing, and there are some work environments out there that really need Unions, but not all. My experience working at a grocery store taught me how much of a problem a Union can be if it goes off the rails.

    • JonBoy470 says:

      Unionization was a great thing in the beginning. Not having sweatshop conditions is good. Having some modicum of safety is good. Having to be able to justify why you’re firing someone is good. Unions, by and large, accomplished those goals in this country 75 years ago.

      By then they had taken on a life of their own. Having accomplished their original objectives, they needed to justify their continued existence. Thus was spawned “mission creep”.

  4. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I am Connor McLeod of the clan Toyota?

  5. ScandalMgr says:

    Awesome,

    the Capitalists have succeeded in winnowing down Labor expenses in a foreign country to the point that is makes business sense to move production there.

    “There” being where-ever it is cheapest to do business. Amazingly it wasn’t China this time.

    • scoutermac says:

      I think the problem for Toyota was in order to keep quality high and expenses down it made more scene to have the parts made in other countries then the cars them self build in the US to avoid expensive shipping costs.

    • prosumer1 says:

      Great. there goes the Toyota quality. Nothing compromises quality like letting American workers having a hand at making your products.

  6. vliam says:

    Well, at least we now know which lobbyists were behind Mitch’s latest piece of legislation.

  7. TuxthePenguin says:

    Misleading headline: “Toyota To Shift Highlander Production To U.S., Invest $400 Million”

    Actual statement: “Toyota expects this change will allow it to manufacture an additional 50,000 Highlanders a year, some of which are intended for export.”

    No, they are not “shifting” production, which implies that you are moving from one place to another (hence “shifting” gears. You do not run both 2nd and 3rd gear at the same time). They are augmenting production by adding a new line at an existing factory.

    • rugman11 says:

      “”As a result of moving Highlander hybrid production to Princeton from Japan and expanding capacity for the gas model, we will create 400 more American jobs and many more at our U.S. suppliers,” Inaba said.”

      Sounds like they are shifting Highlander hybrid production from Japan to Indiana and expanding the production of the gas Highlander they already building in Indiana.

  8. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    And in a related story…

    We loan GM $60 billion* and this is the thanks we get:

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/09/gm-cuts-china-electric-car-deal—-a-china-shakedown/1

    *we will lose at least $24 billion for our trouble.

  9. RickinStHelen says:

    They will be producing 50,000 more Highlanders, but I thought we all learned when it comes to Highlanders, there can only be one.

  10. BurtReynolds says:

    I could swear that the Highlanders I looked at online to consider purchasing had a “Made in Canada” on their door tag. There were 09-10 models.