Toyota Begins Hybrid Production In U.S.

The Georgetown, Kentucky plant will produce 48,000 vehicles per year.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Oct. 13 that it had begun producing gas-electric hybrids in North America for the first time. The plant in Georgetown, Kentucky will produce up to 48,000 Camry Hybrid vehicles a year after an investment of about $10 million.

Toyota has sold 23,000 imported Camry Hybrids in North America since May this year, helping to lift its total hybrid sales in the region to 420,000, including the flagship Prius, the Highlander Hybrid and Lexus brand vehicles.

The Japanese carmaker has scored a big success since it first launched the Prius hybrid car powered by a combination gasoline and electric engine in 1997.

Toyota has set a forecast for total global sales of 9.8 million in 2008, compared with 8.13 million vehicles in 2005 and 8.85 million expected this year.

Toyota has been creating more jobs in the U.S. amid complaints from American lawmakers that Japanese automakers have unfairly benefited from a weak yen which allows them to offer competitive prices.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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