While some folks continue to grumble about the bailout of the auto industry (specifically Chrysler and GM), this manufacturing segment continues to add jobs to the manufacturing landscape at an unequalled pace.
The latest: 400 new spots at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (TMMI)in Indiana, where the Highlander, Sequoia and Sienna are made. The plant current employs about 4,800.
Speaking at last week’s Chicago Auto Show, Yoshi Inaba, Toyota N.A. chief operating officer, said the jobs and an accompanying $400-million in investment will increase production of the Highlander by about 50,000 units for North American consumption, as well as export to Russia and Australia.
Inaba, who attended grad school in Chicago and say that city still has the best pizza in the world, also noted that the company expected that the added production would would increase business for the North American supply base.
The committment to building vehicles for the American market within the United States has been a strong part of Toyota’s strategy. Both the Tundra and Tacoma are built in Toyota’s Texas manufacturing plant.
The Highlander, with the optional tow package for the V6 models, is a popular light duty vehicle with tow capacity of about 5,000 lbs.