Toyota Motor Corp. has launched production of the 2014 Highlander large crossover in Princeton, Ind.
The popularity of the Highlander led Toyota to invest $430 million in the Princeton plant, creating an additional 600 jobs, the company said in a statement Thursday. In the first 11 months of the year, U.S. Highlander sales are up 6 percent from the same period a year ago, to 115,228 units.
Most of the jobs created at Princeton were new hires, and a spokesman at the plant said that almost all of the positions had been filled.
The company said it will export Highlanders from Indiana for the first time, shipping vehicles to Russia and Australia.
Toyota also will produce hybrid vehicles at the Princeton plant for the first time. The plant has built the gasoline-powered version of the Highlander since 2009 and production of the hybrid version is expected to begin in early 2014.
The Princeton plant is 114 miles west of Louisville, Ky., and employs about 4,500 people. It also makes the Sequoia large SUV and Sienna minivan.