Toyota Motor Corp. is investing $383 million in four factories across the U.S. to boost production of hybrid vehicles amid rising demand for fuel-efficient cars.
Toyota’s engine plant in Huntsville, Alabama, will get the biggest pot of money — $222 million to build a new production line that can make both combustion and hybrid-electric powertrains, the company said Tuesday in a statement. The remaining funds will be split among factories in Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.
The Japanese automaker, which already represents more than half of all hybrid-vehicle sales in the U.S., was the top-selling carmaker in the country for the past two quarters as soaring gas prices pushed consumers to seek out more fuel-efficient models. Toyota showed off its first major pure-electric model, the bz4x crossover, at the New York International Auto Show last week.
“It’s always been our plan to manage the transition by having hybrids, plug-in hybrids and introduce BEVs when we believe the market is there,” Bob Carter, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American business, said in an interview last week. “We will continue on the path of managing the transition with hybrids and plug-in hybrids.”