Toyota enters Elvis country

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SCOTT JAGOW: Toyota made it official yesterday: it's building a billion-dollar plant in Mississippi. Nancy Marshall Genzer has more.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: The Mississippi plant will be built in Elvis country, near Tupelo. Peter Brown, of Automotive News says rural workers will fit into what the company calls the "Toyota Way."
PETER BROWN: They drive out inefficiency, and it's nice to start with people with a clean sheet of paper when you're doing that.

The Mississippi workers will be making Highlanders, a sport-utility vehicle.

Haven't SUV sales been falling? They were, but Western Michigan University's K.C. O'Shaughnessy says they bounced back when gas prices fell.

K.C. O'SHAUGHNESSY We like big trucks. You know, I think certainly the SUVs will get smaller. But I don't think they're going away.

Toyota's Highlander is billed as a mid-sized SUV. It comes as a hybrid, but Toyota doesn't plan to build any hybrids in Mississippi.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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