Toyota Motor Corp. plans to add about 1,400 workers at factories in Japan as the automaker ramps up production of Prius hybrids and Land Cruiser SUVs, people familiar with the matter said.
The company’s Tsutsumi and Tahara plants are hiring to begin output of its redesigned Prius and an updated Land Cruiser, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private plans. Some of the workers may be brought in on temporary assignment from Toyota group companies, the people said. Ryo Sakai, a Toyota spokesman, said it’s the company’s policy not to comment on matters related to future production.
The Prius, a top-selling model built exclusively in Toyota’s home market, may help boost Japan’s exports as the first revamped version of the car since 2009 goes on sale. In increasing production of the $80,000 Land Cruiser, Toyota’s betting improved acceleration and added safety features will lift demand for its most expensive SUV in markets including the U.S.
Toyota has sold more than 3.5 million Prius cars since the model’s debut in 1997. The Prius became the first hybrid to exceed 500,000 annual sales in 2010, following Toyota’s last redesign. The company plans to unveil the new version on Sept. 8 in Las Vegas.
The Land Cruiser will become the first Toyota model to get an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 2016 version also is the first to feature a collision-avoidance system.
Toyota will also add workers at the Motomachi plant that builds the Crown, Mark X, Estima, GS and Mirai sedans, the people said. All three factories are in Japan’s Aichi prefecture, which is also home to the carmaker’s Toyota City headquarters.