By on January 24, 2017

2017 Toyota Highlander

Toyota is planning a $600 million expansion of its Princeton, Indiana assembly plant to enhance production capacity and modernize the factory for the next-generation Highlander.

The company’s financial commitment underscores Toyota’s new and carefully domesticated image while serving to remind everyone that its cars are built in America for Americans — not unlike the company’s red, white, and blue display cars at this year’s North American International Auto Show.

“This announcement shows Toyota’s commitment to continued U.S. investment,” the company said in its official announcement. “This expansion is part of Toyota’s localization strategy to build vehicles where they are sold.”

It is difficult to blame Toyota for wearing its patriotism on its sleeve. President Donald Trump spent much of this week suggesting the imposition of tariffs on imported vehicles, and had previously criticized Toyota for its presence in Mexico. The company’s Tijuana factory, which produces the immensely popular Tacoma pickup truck, is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion.

The large U.S. investment will supposedly secure 400 American jobs and, according to Toyota, improve the plant’s annual capacity by a full 40,000 units. Along with the Highlander, the Sequoia SUV and Sienna minivan will also be produced in Princeton.

Over 400,000 units rolled out of the Indiana-based plant last year, the highest in its twenty year history. Likewise, the Highlander had its best year on record with 204,343 units sold in North America, and sales of midsize crossover have been climbing steadily since 2013.

[Image: Toyota]

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75 Comments on “Toyota Invests $600 Million In the Heartland, Verifies Its Loyalty...”


  • avatar
    philadlj

    “This announcement shows Toyota’s commitment to continued U.S. investment”

    Eh, it’s a start. Keep it up.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    All the automakers are telling the media people to list and itemize all the investments that they had already committed to making as far back as a year ago, in order to provide it to the Trump Administration, so that Trump can tweetstorm about all the “new investment” being created in just the first 5 days of his presidency.

    It’s actually smart, because they get brownie points with Trump in order to allow him to take credit for past allocated investment decisions.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s *exactly* what’s going on, and I’m surprised people don’t see through it.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I’m not. Selection bias is strong and it’s everywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        No need to see through it. It should be welcomed as a good thing… no?

      • 0 avatar
        mtmmo

        Kyree since “that’s *exactly* what’s going on” and you’re a moderator why don’t you provide the specific link that cites Toyota previously announcing this $600 Million investment? Also why didn’t Matt Posky mention this in his article?

        What people don’t see through is your anti-Trump sentiment. Waiting to see that link.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          http://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/trump-jobs-returning-because-of-me/

          Trump is a master con, but I’m sure that he or someone on his behalf will tweet that factcheck.org is a flaming pile of Soros-financed rubbish, or whatever, and that he went around the conference table today and had the auto execs commit to trillions in new factories in the U.S. (at a time when the peso has lost half its value against the dollar, making this make no sense financially; the dollar now equals 21.51 pesos; I remember when it was 8 to 1 in 2004) or be taken out to the Rose Garden to be executed!

          Trumpigula!

        • 0 avatar
          Snooder

          Well, you could just read the damn article.

          Which points out two things. First, the plant already existed and pumped out 400,000 highlanders last year. Second, crossovers are a hot seller right now.

          A reasonable conclusion would be that improving the ability of the plant to produce vehicles that are selling well has very little to do with the guy who is president less than a week.

        • 0 avatar
          mu_redskin

          Not having the specifics to Toyota, all rrecently announced investment by fca for example has been long known by readers of allpar.com. So please – no reason to call out the moderators.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          They didn’t previously announce the $600 million investment, but this is part of the $10 billion to be invested in the US over the next five years. Toyota’s North American chief talked about this early this month.

          “Lentz said in an interview at the Detroit auto show the decision is not a response to Trump but part of the automaker’s business strategy to invest in the United States, where it has 10 plants in eight states.”

          http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/09/toyota-to-invest-10-billion-in-us-over-five-years.html

          • 0 avatar
            pmirp1

            Adam Tonge, Let’s be clear, Deadwight said all automakers. You put a link specific to Toyota. Kyree and Deadweight easily ignore Ford changing directions on investment decisions by Ford which without a doubt happened because of President Trump. But it doesn’t fit the liberal viewpoints of Lou and Kyree so you ignore that point.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            I was replying to a specific comment about Toyota not previously announcing this investment. That’s it. I mentioned Ford changing plans below. For the record, I think Ford’s decision was based on have too much production if they added another plant, and not wanting to spend the money. There was definitely a political component to the decision though. There was no way they could have closed a US factory after the election. Trump had to factor into the decision somehow.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          mtmmo – One has to consider the trend away from cars towards trucks and SUV’s and Toyota stating that they don’t have enough capacity to meet truck/SUV demand. Their investment is hardly based upon the ramblings of cheetopotus. I’m betting that their PR department is astute enough to know that stroking the narcissistic ego of said potus is in their own self interest.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I know it sounds terribly arrogant, but a lot of people either a) have emotional investment in Trump and his belief ecosystem, and/or b) aren’t that bright.

        Amusingly, it’s often the same people who complained about “greenwashing” that are basically falling all over themselves to excuse nativist marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      silentsod

      The economy largely seems driven by perception thus changing that perception and making it appear that this investment is happening because of President Trump could very well lead to an actual improvement in the American economy and in investment here. It helps that, weirdly, Trump comes across as an optimist about the economy. Reference the stock market doomsayers and the near immediate uptick in the days following the election.

      Considering so many people, including me, underestimated and dismissed the man I am withholding judgment and at least willing to recognize this may be a clever tactic designed to manipulate mood and perception and the companies are falling into step with it.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I remember when Evan Bayh campaigned against Lt Gov John Mutz for incentivizing the Subaru Lafayette facility.

    Between Subaru Lafayette, Toyota Princeton, and Honda Greensburg, the Japanese mfgrs have found a lot of success here in Indiana.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    How is Toyota able to manufacture their bread and butter vehicles in the US profitably while the big 3 make Fusions, Fiestas, Silverados, Ram pickups, etc. in Mexico? How does GM shut down Janesville and Toyota opens up San Antonio? Makes no sense.

    Is there not enough space in Michigan or Ohio to expand? Shortage of workers in those states? I don’t get it. Am I missing something?

  • avatar

    One word: Winning!

    • 0 avatar
      mtmmo

      But so we’re clear this isn’t Winning for the Trump administration. This was done under Obama or another previous President and has *exactly* nothing to do with Trump. Just ask Kyree as he has the proof. Just like any internet moderator would. Look for the link!

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        mtmmo – “Look for the link!”

        You implying that there is a missing link?

        Rather lefty of you to imply that.

        Oh, Adam Tonge found it for ya.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          He won’t believe it or will have a comeback. It is from January 9th, so Trump had already won and Ford had already announced the cancellation of its Mexican plant.

          So far, Toyota is going to keep building the Mexican plant for Corollas. Unlike Ford, they need the additional capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            pmirp1

            Adam Tonge, Again Deadwight point was about all automakers, and Kyree didn’t distinguish between Toyota and say Ford changing plans because of President Trump. Quit changing the comment to fit your bias.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            I don’t have a bias. I was responding to on specific comment. Trump has everything to do with these announcements. That doesn’t mean he’s the reason all these decisions were made.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    I’ve been saying for awhile, that the new US administration should just not set a tariff. Instead just keep threatening to – the nebulous idea of a possible tariff with unknown requirements is doing more to direct investment locally than any real tariff would, even a carefully crafted one. When it’s on paper, beancounters can try and find loopholes to do the minimum required to meet the requirements. When it’s just this nebulous guillotine hanging over plant decisions, it’s far more effective, IMHO.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Exactly. Let’s all note as the Trump presidency begins that we have full employment, minimal inflation, record equity prices and an additional 15 million people with health insurance.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The farce is strong with this one today :D

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        He does have all the tired, tedious talking points down. It’s a good thing the voters refused the crack pipe. They know better.

        • 0 avatar
          mtmmo

          Oh now let’s give Obama credit where credit is due: record number on food stamps, record number out of work, a foreign policy that has led to the deaths of several hundred thousand innocent people, racial division at an all time high, education policies that failed to curb college costs, not a single quarter of GDP growth greater than 3%, increased our National Debt by $9 TRILLION with nothing to show for, etc, etc, etc.

          Gallup ranks Obama 9th out of the last 12 Presidents based on average approval rating. Obama was an awful President.

          Kennedy 70.1%
          Eisenhower 65.0%
          G.H.W. Bush 60.9%
          Clinton 55.1%
          Johnson 55.1%
          Reagan 52.8%
          G.W. Bush 49.4%
          Nixon 49.0%
          Obama 47.9%
          Ford 47.2%
          Carter 45.5%
          Truman 45.4%

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      ” full employment”

      If that was really the case then Trump would have lost magnificently, and not instead have flipped the Rust Belt. This is what lost Hillary and Co. the election btw, sad to see that the delusion lives on.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        gtem,
        Jack had the same issue as you, so let me explain. Economists consider the economy to be at full employment with the unemployment rate is at or below 5%. It is currently at 4.7%.

        This does not mean that every single person looking for work, or not, is actually employed, nor does it mean that 100% of adults have their dream job. It’s just how the experts define the term.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “It’s just how the experts define the term.”

          Keep talking semantics, keep losing elections and relevance.

          The reality on the ground is that truly massive numbers of people are either a) not looking for work at all and fell off the experts’ list or b) underemployed, working one or multiple low end jobs in the service sector.

          Again, look at how people turned out to vote and how they voted in de-industrialized, economically depressed areas.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          gtem,
          I’m not talking semantics, and I’ve never run for office. I get that there are a lot of people who wish they were employed or in better jobs. I said that!

          I was just explaining my use of the term. Sheesh.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Fair enough, my apologies for flying off the handle. Seems a lot of us are on a hair trigger with all the political stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          Sceptic

          You should have originally said “full employment unemployment” so everyone would understand. That is the definition from ECON101! 5% unemployment is considered normal.

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          “Keep talking semantics, keep losing elections and relevance.”

          And the middle class… and the blue collar voter… and the white voter…

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        mtmmo,
        Most of what you quote is out of context or just plain lies. Examples:

        – most people out of work. Yes, because the US population has never been larger, nor has it ever skewed toward the elderly/retired so much.

        -racial division at an all time high. Complete hogwash. Have you heard of the Civil War? Jim Crow?

    • 0 avatar
      pmirp1

      VoGo, what is amazing is you don’t get banned from this site

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Big win for Trump! LOL
    Some of his supporters will now think he brought Toyota to the United States.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Add Your Own Soundtrack!

    The Stimpy-sauruses in this clip were barking something different, but you can fill in:

    MAGA! WIN! MAGA! MAGA! WIN! MAGA! WIN! WIN! MAGA!

    knowyourmeme.com/photos/861812-the-ren-and-stimpy-show

  • avatar

    The president has limited powers over businesses (see Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer) but it will be interesting to see how effective presidential jawboning can be when it comes to investments in factories.

    For the most part, I think that Isaac Singer and Henry Ford demonstrated that exporting has its limits and that producing goods in the markets where you sell them can be more profitable.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Agree, Ronnie. Among the actions he, his administration and congress can perform to better the situation will be to reduce regulation, reduce the corporate tax rate and try to facilitate a better climate for business, and promote investment and job creation.

    • 0 avatar
      pmirp1

      Ronnie agreed completely. In the case of Toyota they are building a profitable expensive truck in Tacoma for American market in Mexico. They can’t even hide behind the fact that is a cheap compact. This is all about making most profit

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    That has got to be one of the ugliest front ends I have ever seen; it makes a baleen whale majestic and a shark sleek by comparison. Bring that splitter line up about 8 inches and turn it into a cosmetic bumper and it would look better, but still have an ugly, gaping, ‘mouth’.

    I won’t be buying a Toyota, EVER, as long as they look like this.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    The President -regardless of party- has little to do with economic success or failure of the nation. The real credit rests with the boring federal agency that is the Department of the Treasury , and the Federal Reserve.

    Insofar as tariffs go, all that will do is incentivize the prestige of imported cars again.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “all that will do is incentivize the prestige of imported cars again.”

      There is something to be said about imported Toyota cars made in Japan. They’re better than anything Toyota makes in North America.

      Ever since Toyota started making them on this side of the pond the quality, reliability and durability of Toyota products has tanked because they share the same corner-cutting suppliers as Ford, GM and Fiatsler here.

      I’ve got a 1989 Camry V6 as my daily driver and it is infinitely better to this day than any Camry Toyota cranks out today in North America.

      Not surprising, owners of Japan-built Toyota vehicles refuse to buy the cheap North American made versions.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Toyota made a conscious decision to cheapen the Camry 3 generations ago. The reduction in quality has nothing to do with the supplier base (the vast majority of which Toyota brought with them to Kentucky) or the nationality of the assemblers.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        highdesertcat, the decontenting hit the home market cars just as bad, they simply could not afford the same quality of materials and content as before as a) people in the home market had less to spend and b) a much higher yen made competing in other markets more difficult price-wise.

        In the Russian Far-East where they know their way around the “good stuff,” home market JDM cars from the early 80s onwards, there is a similar sentiment to what you expressed: “They don’t build them like they used to.”

        Conversely, some of the current Made in Japan stuff isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I mentioned on here before a sub-100k mile 2009 Forester my brother had in his shop recently that needed 3 out of 4 wheel bearings replaced, corroded rear brake lines, the usual weeping head gaskets, and a serious factory-defect caused interior water leak near cowl.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          gtemnykh, sorry about the delayed response — had people drop in on me unexpectedly.

          I’m surprised that Americans have settled for all this decontenting and cheapening of the materials used in their cars.

          As someone who drove the US domestic brands for decades earlier in my life, I made a conscious choice to switch over to the Toyota brand.

          And I have not been disappointed. We are an all-Toyota all-the-time family these days but I have no illusions or delusions that North American built Toyota products are any better than the competition. I found the Japan-built versions much better.

          I simply cannot afford better-made cars, so I chose to buy the brand I had the best luck with– Toyota.

  • avatar
    Sam Hall

    So it’s only Bark’s politics that we’re keeping off the site. Got it.

    Yes, I realize Toyota’s promoting its US production is legitimately car-related news, but the characterization as “showing loyalty” is a political one, just a day after the big-deal post about how politics isn’t appropriate TTAC content.


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