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Report: Toyota will delay opening in Blue Springs

Another report that says the Toyota plant in Blue Springs will be delayed has surfaced.

The Detroit News, in its “Auto Insider” column, quoted Toyota senior vice president for engineering Jun Umemura as saying the plant’s opening, currently scheduled for late 2010, would be delayed. Umemura did not answer questions after his presentation at a press conference in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

The report was news to the executive director of Three Rivers Planning and Development Commission.

“We have heard nothing of that nature,” said Randy Kelly, whose agency oversees the Wellspring megasite and is managing construction of the plant and surrounding infrastructure. “The senior VP that’s over everything happening there now was at my tent (at the Egg Bowl in Oxford Friday, and mentioned nothing about a delay.) Toyota has been very careful and very honorable about coming to see the PUL Alliance members to give the information to them first. Until that happens, I just have to believe they wouldn’t make an announcement without talking to us first. Would it, in these economic times, shock me if Toyota backs it up to the first quarter of 2011 or second quarter? No. But I have had no indications of that. Construction is still going like it always is.”

About a month ago, a Japanese newspaper reported that the Blue Springs facility would be delayed. Toyota officials denied that report.

The plant will build the Prius hybrid, one of the most popular hybrids in the automotive market and one of Toyota’s strongest sellers.

Contact MBJ staff writer Clay Chandler at clay.chandler@ msbusiness.com .


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