2010 Toyota CorollaEnlarge Photo
Toyota has revived plans to develop a manufacturing facility near Tupelo, Mississippi. An official announcement is expected later today.
According to an inside source, Toyota will resume work on the plant and begin producing vehicles there in the second half of 2011. However, the facility won't be used for Highlanders, as was originally the plan when Toyota broke ground on the site in 2007. Nor will it produce the Prius -- a change that was announced in 2008, when sales of SUVs like the Highlander tanked thanks to soaring pump prices. Now, the source says, Toyota will use the Mississippi facility to manufacture the stalwart Corolla.
The factory's shell was nearly complete when Toyota abandoned the site in late 2008, as the world economy took a nose dive. The auto sector has been rebounding for several months now, and we might've heard about this development sooner, had Toyota not had other items on their plate.
This may not be great development for Prius fans, but it seems like good news for Toyota as a whole -- not to mention Mississippi, and, by inference, the U.S. auto market.