Toyota Adds Weekend Shifts for Prius

Japanese manufacturer Toyota announced it will start weekend shifts at its Tsutsumi factory, in order to meet the demand for the new Prius. Together with the other Toyota plant in Japan, belonging to affiliate Toyota Auto Body, the company already has a hybrid building rate of 2,300 vehicles a day, including overtime, reported.

An official for Toyota Auto Body said that at its Fujimatsu factory, nearly 30 procent of the production queue already belongs to the Prius. Starting July, the plant will add weekend shifts, a measure which will increase the percentage of Priuses built there.

As for Toyota's plans for the US, the Japanese manufacturer has already denied rumors which said it will build its hybrid at the New United Motor Manufacturing (NUMMI) plant in California.

NUMMI, which was operated by Toyota together with GM, may be bought by Toyota following GM's withdrawal from the joint venture, due the the discontinuing of the Pontiac Vibe. Still, Toyota does plan to produce the Prius at the Mississippi plant, but not before the US automotive sector recovers.

"We are planning to produce the Prius at the Mississippi plant once the US market recovers, and we are not considering production at NUMMI," the official was quoted as saying by Reuters. Furthermore, the Mississippi plant is only half built.

According to analysts, Toyota does need more US based production facilities, in the prospect of the market recovery. More than 40 percent of the cars sold in the US last year had to be imported, making the manufacturer lose money in exchange rates.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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