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Toyota To Build Up SUVs

September 22, 1998

PRINCETON, Ind. (AP) _ Toyota Motor Corp. will produce its first sport-utility vehicle in North America at its new assembly plant in southern Indiana beginning with the 2001 model year.

Toyota will produce 50,000 full-size sport utility vehicles annually starting in the fall of 2000, spokesman Mike Goss of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana said Tuesday.

The name of the vehicle hasn’t been determined yet. Some industry sources have speculated the vehicle will be a luxury model called the Harrier, the name used in Japan for the luxury sport utility vehicle sold in the United States as the Lexus RX300. Toyota’s sport utility lineup in the United States now includes the full-size Land Cruiser, the midsize 4Runner and the compact RAV4.

The sport utility vehicle will be built on the same production line as the Tundra full-size pickup truck that the Japanese automaker will begin making in January at the plant north of Evansville, Goss said. The plant will produce 100,000 Tundras annually.

The full-size trucks and sport utility vehicles, both of which will be powered by V-8 engines, will complement the sedans, compact cars, mini-vans and light trucks that the company already makes at North American assembly plants.

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