Toyota Sienna Enters Production

Japanese carmaker Toyota announced yesterday the production debut of the US styled, developed and assembled Sienna, at the carmaker's TMMI plant in Pricenton, Indiana. This marks an important event in TMMI's evolution, as the facility struggled last year to survive the ongoing crisis.

"Without a doubt, our team members were worried," Wil James, senior vice president of TMMI said. "Layoffs were happening all over the auto industry. It would be many months before Highlander production began. As a result, half of our team members were not building vehicles."

Toyota invested some $450 million to upgrade the plant and accommodate production of the Sienna. Last October, the carmaker began building here the Highlander and tried, as much as possible, to avoid slashing any jobs. Instead, it set up a training program to teach its employees the Toyota Production System and Toyota auto manufacturing skills.

"It made more sense to further invest in our experienced team members," James added. "We refocused our work. When we weren't building vehicles, we were preparing for a brighter future."

"It's difficult to roll out such comprehensive training when the line is moving," James concluded. "Our company spent a lot of time developing the best way to do every job in the plant, so the downturn was actually a great opportunity to complete this training in order to sharpen our skills."

The Sienna, which will retail in the US starting from $24,260, will be offered in five grades: Sienna grade, LE, SE, XLE and Limited. There will be two DOHC engines available, both paired with a 6-speed ECT-i automatic transmission, namely a 3.5l V6 (266 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, EPA rating 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway) and a 2.7l four-cylinder (187 horsepower at 5,800 rpm, EPA rating 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway). There will also be an all-wheel drive offered, but only on grades LE, XLE and Limited equipped with the V6 engine.
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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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