Toyota is still looking for an assembly plant to build its Prius in the U.S.
In 2008 it was rumored that the company has chosen a location in Mississippi to build its plant, then a new version of the same story returned in two years later, when a Toyota executive vice president said Mississippi Prius production could start up in 2016. Then in the last two years nobody heard anything about this subject.
Until recently when Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of drivetrain R&D at Toyota, told Automotive News that Toyota is decided to manufacture the Prius in the U.S. by 2015 and wants to get hybrid drivetrain components from North American suppliers. The base fourth-gen Prius is expected to feature the nickel-metal hydride batteries, but the batteries made in the U.S. might be Li-ion.
If the model is to be built in 2015, this means that America will have the fourth-gen Prius model, which is due around that time. Toyota chose the U.S. because sales are strong here and are expected to grow even more, and extra production will be needed to meet demand. Another reason would be that a strong yen means that Prius vehicles built in America would likely come at a lower cost to Toyota.