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Toyota to build Prius in US, scale back truck production

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Marianna Day Massey/ZUMA Press/NEWSCOM/FILE

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Toyota announced Thursday that it will begin manufacturing its iconic Prius hybrid in the United States for the first time.

According to a Toyota press release, the Prius will be built at a plant under construction in Blue Springs, Miss. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2010.

According to the press release, the Mississippi plant was originally to build Highlander SUVs. Those will now be built at a Toyota plant in in Princeton, Ind. Currently, the Princeton plant now assembles Tundra pickups, whose production will be consolidated at another plant in San Antonio, Texas.

Additionally, the company will be shut down production of its Tundras and Sequoia SUVs for three months, so that it can sell off its backed-up inventory.

The moves are a response to a sudden shift this year in American car behavior. As gas prices have spiked, the driving public has been eschewing gas-guzzlers and embracing hybrids.

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