Though the Toyota Prius may not be the sexiest green car, and it certainly isn’t the fastest, it is by far the most popular and best-known hybrid in the world. For years now, Toyota has been hinting that production of the Prius could move to America, where manufacturing costs are cheaper. Top executives are now hinting that Prius production will move to the places where they are “popular”; is an American-made Prius coming soon?
That depends on how you define “soon”, as Toyota has promised numerous innovations on the Prius that have yet to materialize. This includes lithium-ion batteries, as the standard Prius still uses a nickel-hydride unit. Discussions of moving Prius production stateside have been rumored for years, though the ever-increasing cost of manufacturing in Japan could accelerate Toyota’s timetable.
Many Japanese manufacturers are moving production from Japan to the U.S., where labor and production costs are lower. Nissan Leaf production now takes place in the U.S., allowing Nissan to cut $6,400 off of the MSRP. While Toyota may not be able to make such a drastic cost reduction, they could increase their profits on Prius sales, which would be well worth the move.
It isn’t just final assembly of the Prius that could come to America either; Toyota is said to be looking into locally sourcing other major components as well. Like many Japanese auto manufacturers, Toyota already makes most of its products here in America, the Prius being an exception. This move would be a pretty big deal, as manufacturing jobs gain ground in the U.S. and green cars become ever more affordable for the common man. Could this lead to a low-cost version of the Prius as well? One can hope.
Source: The Truth About Cars