Toyota hits brakes on Miss. Prius plant

Dec 16, 2008 | 10:29 AM | Michael Cowden

Faced with a steep decline in auto sales, Toyota Motor Corp. has indefinitely suspended plans to produce its Prius hybrid vehicle at a plant under construction in Blue Springs, Miss.

The suspension will echo throughout the automaker's supply chain, although the exact extent of its impact was not immediately clear Tuesday.

Toyota had planned to start manufacturing the Prius at the Blue Springs facility in mid-2010, with production forecast to eventually reach 120,000 vehicles per year, a company spokeswoman said.

But while the Blue Springs facility is "90 percent complete," Toyota has yet to order the processing equipment necessary to make cars at the plant, she said. "The preparations are being delayed, so translate that to it's very likely that production would also be delayed."

A company statement was more blunt. "Due to the uncertainty of the market, it is impossible to say at this time when production will begin," it read, adding that the company was evaluating operations and reducing production around the globe "as necessary."....

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