DETROIT -- After dithering about the possibility of building its Prius hybrid in the U.S., Toyota appears to be angling toward local production again.
Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda said that the automaker's U.S. business will be constructed of four "pillars" - Corolla, Camry, pickup trucks and the Prius family of vehicles.
"Our basic concept regarding local production, is that we want to be as close as possible to where customers are buying and using those vehicles. If the Prius family can enjoy greater patronage, there is the possibility of local production of the Prius here in the U.S.," Toyoda said in a roundtable interview with journalists.
Toyota had been planning to build the Prius at its new Mississippi plant but instead decided to build the Corolla sedan there after closing a California factory where the Corolla had been assembled.
However, Toyota executives recently said they expect the Prius family of vehicles - the hatchback, a plug-in variant, a tall wagon and a compact five-door - to outsell the Camry, currently the best-selling car in America. The Camry repeatedly sold more than 400,000 units before the recession, and generated sales of 327,804 last year.
The tall wagon, called Prius v, will arrive in mid-2011, while the plug-in and smaller Priuses will arrive in the first half of 2012. The overall Prius platform is slated for a redesign in the 2015 or 2016 calendar year.