Toyota will begin production of the first hybrid version of the Lexus ES in Kyushu from July according to the Nikkei newspaper.
Production subsidiary Toyota Motor Kyushu will produce several thousand units of the ES300h a month with most sold in North America.
Kyushu’s overall output for this fiscal year is projected at about 350,000 units, up around 20% year on year. The Toyota subsidiary is expected to hire 200 or so contract workers at its plant in Fukuoka Prefecture to handle the additional production.
The unit also produces the CT200h small hybrid, the HS250h midsize hybrid and the Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle. Around 80% of these vehicles are exported, mainly to North America.
Thanks to its location, Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu is a convenient base for exporting to the growing Asian automobile market. Other automakers are stepping up production in the region, with Nissan planning to launch production of the Note subcompact in Fukuoka, also in July.