Strong sales for its crossovers and SUVs have prompted Toyota to invest $600 million into a major Midwestern assembly plant.
The automaker says that its $600 million investment will create about 400 new jobs in Princeton, Indiana, where it builds its Highlander crossover. The move should boost production of the Highlander by about 40,000 vehicles annually.
Toyota plans to spend that $600 million on infrastructure in the plant that will help make it more modern and more efficient.
The $600 million is a relatively small chunk of the $10 billion Toyota says it plans to pump into assembly plants spread across the U.S. over the next five years.
Toyota’s announcement comes on the heels of chest-thumping from several other major automakers directed largely toward the new Trump administration. What’s perhaps most interesting about Toyota’s move, however, is that it comes from a foreign-headquartered automaker that has a substantial presence in Vice President Mike Pence’s home state.
Pence met with representatives from Toyota earlier this month, but neither the administration nor the automaker has suggested that the investment was politically-motivated.
Sales of the Highlander in the U.S. were up considerably last year, from a hair under 159,000 units in 2015 to 191,379 in 2016. Toyota also builds its Sequoia SUV and Sienna minivan in Princeton.