Toyota has announced it will ramp up production of the Highlander and Highlander hybrid at its Princeton, Indiana plant late next year. The automaker has decided to end production on the mid-size sport/utility in Japan in late 2013, which means output will primarily be at the Indiana plant.

That means that export versions of the Highlander and the Highlander hybrid will also be built at the Indiana plant before they're sent off to Russia and Australia, and Toyota expects annual production volume at the plant to increase by approximately 50,000 units. In order to support global demand at the plant, which currently builds the Sequoia SUV and Sienna minivan, Toyota will invest about $400 million and create 400 new jobs.

"This project allows for better utilization of the Indiana plant and will help Toyota capitalize on the improving the North American and global auto market," said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.

The rising value of the yen against the US dollar has also continued to be a major issue among Japanese automakers, and one solution has been to manufacture cars closer to their sales markets and export less from Japan, which is exactly what Toyota is doing. Honda has also taken similar steps in combating the issue.

Source: Toyota