Toyota shifting Camry assembly to Indiana

March 11, 2006 at 8:42 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, March 11 (UPI) -- Toyota will make Camry sedans in Lafayette, Ind., opening room at its main car plant in Kentucky for a new tall station wagon, industry analysts said.

Toyota will step into the huge and modern Subaru plant that has been under-utilized since opening in 1989 with $94 million worth of state and local government incentives, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Japanese automakers Subaru and Isuzu spent $1.1 billion on the plant, scaling it for assembly of 260,000 autos a year, but the automakers never tapped more than half of the factory's capacity. Isuzu dropped out of the venture in 2003.

"Right now Toyota is really struggling for capacity," said auto analyst Erich Merkle of IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich. "They definitely have the ability to sell more vehicles."

The Indianapolis Star reported Friday that Toyota was expected to confirm on Monday long-awaited plans to hire 1,000 workers for assembly of 100,000 Camrys each year.

Camry was the nation's best-selling sedan last year -- 431,703 vehicles were sold including about 25,000 imported from Japan, reported market analyst Morgan & Co. of West Olive, Mich.

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