Will Currency Issues Mean More Small Cars Made In America?

August 10, 2010

In the midst of an economy that isn’t recovering as quickly as we’d like, there might be some good news: more vehicles that are made in America.

2010 Toyota Yaris

2010 Toyota Yaris

Now, a strong Euro has made it hard for Toyota to produce vehicles in Japan for export, and according to Automotive News the company is again considering whether the company could profit from building its Yaris small car here in the U.S.  The strategy has worked in Europe; Toyota makes the Yaris in France, as well as several other small cars in the Czech Republic and Turkey.

Since there’s already less of a profit margin on small cars, and the yen has been so strong, it might make sense to build more small cars, like the Yaris (or potentially the Scion xB or xD) in the U.S., the reasoning goes.

According to Just-Auto.com, Toyota is already the biggest exporter of vehicles to the U.S.  What’s more, Toyota has had to rely on more exports from Japan after shuttering the Fremont, California, NUMMI facility earlier this year. Assembly is expected to start in Mississippi next fall, but now if small-car sales grow the company might look for a spot to assemble the Yaris as well.

The 2010 Toyota Yaris starts at just $12,605—significantly lower than other markets—so the model poses a profitability challenge for the automaker.

Toyota isn’t the only company looking to move small-car assembly to a Stateside location. General Motors will move assembly for the next generation of its Aveo to Michigan, while Ford is planning to build all U.S.-bound versions of its upcoming, all-new 2012 Ford Focus in Michigan.

Mexico remains another option. Nissan assembles its Versa in Mexico, and Chrysler late this year will begin selling Mexican-built Fiat 500 models.

[Automotive News]

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