Editor's note: An earlier version of this story gave incorrect timing for changes at Toyota Motor Corp.’s factory in Princeton, Ind. An expansion there will wrap up next year, yielding an additional 30,000 Highlanders in 2016.
NEW YORK -- Toyota Motor Corp. is adding two variants and increasing production in North America to keep up with growing demand for its pickups and crossovers.
The company intends to boost output of its Tacoma midsize pickup in Mexico and the Highlander midsize crossover in Indiana. Toyota also plans to add two new models to the RAV4 crossover family to continue fueling sales of that nameplate.
"Our team has done a great job of building what we want," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager. "But if I had one wish, it would be for more trucks. And we're going to get it."
This month, Toyota will launch a third shift at its Tacoma plant in Tijuana, Mexico. It will be Toyota's first three-shift schedule in North America.
Tijuana last year produced a record 71,399 pickups. The third shift will bring the plant close to 110,000 Tacomas a year.
Toyota's San Antonio plant also builds the Tacoma. Last year, Toyota sold 155,041 of the pickups, down 2.8 percent from 2013. A redesigned 2016 Tacoma will reach the market this year.
Last week at the New York auto show, Toyota unveiled a hybrid version of its RAV4. It will go on sale as a 2016 model when the crossover is freshened. Toyota also will begin offering a sport edition of the crossover, mirroring Toyota's sport editions of the Corolla and Camry.
The new variants will help Toyota dealers maintain the RAV4's sales momentum, Fay said. Last year, RAV4 sales rose 23 percent to 267,698. Through March this year, sales have increased 26 percent to 67,010.
Toyota is adding capacity for the Highlander in Princeton, Ind. That plant supplies the Highlander from a single production line. Toyota is spending $30 million to enable the Princeton factory to build the vehicle on both of its lines.
That move will yield an additional 30,000 units starting in 2016, Toyota said.
"There's been a pretty big shift to light trucks in the past two months, which is a significant swing from two years ago, and that changes what we need to build," Fay said. "It's a short wish list, but we need this to keep up with what the consumer wants now."