Toyota Looks to Make Prius in North America
01/15/2013| 12:36am US/Eastern
DETROIT (Nikkei)--The head of Toyota Motor North America Inc. suggested the company plans to produce the Prius in North America, saying the firm intends to "make cars where they are popular, the Nikkei reported in its Tuesday evening edition."
The Toyota Motor Corp. (>> TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION) hybrid is selling well in North America.
Shigeki Terashi made the comments Monday at the North American International Auto Show when asked if his company planned to make the Prius in North America. His comment suggests the firm is looking to gain a cost edge over rivals.
U.S. sales of the Prius reached 240,000 units in 2012, up 73% on the year and accounting for 82% of all hybrids Toyota sells there. The North American unit will also consider locally manufacturing key components for hybrids, such as batteries and motors, according to Terashi.
Honda Motor Co. (>> Honda Motor Co Ltd) also appears to be leaning toward manufacturing hybrids in North America. The company currently sends key components to the U.S. for final assembly.
The firm's president, Takanobu Ito, says Honda may produce hybrids in North America but that the carmaker should first find out exactly how many hybrids will be sold there.
He also said Honda will shift to domestic procurement of motors and other components for hybrids in the U.S.