Leading Japanese automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., plans to manufacture 100,000 environmentally friendly vehicles annually in the US and China. Toyota had previously feared that producing the hybrids abroad would leak key technology and kept production at home. The company has now decided to manufacture in the two largest auto markets.
Toyota plans to manufacture the Prius in existing factories in the US by 2015 and gradually reduce imports from Japan. Key parts will be produced in the US or bought from local suppliers. Other components will still be brought in from Japan.
In China, the world’s largest auto market, Toyota is planning to manufacture from a local R&D base and launch a joint-venture production for batteries, if the government permits them. Investment for hybrid production in the US and China is in the tens of billions of yen. Toyota sold 630,000 hybrids worldwide in 2011. Prius sales reached 250,000 in Japan alone.