Toyota is looking to shift production of the Prius hybrid to its Mississippi assembly plant when the next variant of the car arrives – in 2016.
Toyota was planning on building the car at the site originally, until GM exited the NUMMI plant in California, forcing GM to move Corolla production to their Deep South facility.
“The main components for the Prius — such as the motor and battery — are not mature enough for local production,” Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi told Reuters. “We expect that they’ll be ready with the next remodelling.”
Technology issues aside, Toyota also feels that the U.S. economy has yet to fully recover, and that it won’t be prudent to launch a new vehicle any time soon.
“If you look at unemployment, housing, and other economic indicators there’s not much good news. I think it will take time for the market to recover,” Niimi said.