May 30, 2008 - 7:07 am ET
TOKYO (Thomson Financial) -- Japan's Toyota is in talks with General Motors about producing the hybrid Prius at their joint production venture in California, a newspaper today.
If they reach an agreement, it would be the first time that the Prius -- the world's first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle -- is made in the United States, the Tokyo Shimbun said, without naming sources.
Toyota may produce Prius cars at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI), a venture established by the two groups in 1984 that currently makes Toyota Corolla, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Matrix, and Pontiac Vibe vehicles, it said.
The Japanese company plans to ship key components from Japan and assemble them at the venture in Fremont, Calif., where demand for environmentally friendly cars is high, the newspaper said.
A Toyota spokesman in Tokyo declined to comment on the report, saying: "As usual, we don't comment on the details of negotiations, but nothing has been decided yet on the reported NUMMI case."
Toyota aims to sell at least 1 million hybrid vehicles a year from the early 2010s. It currently produces the Prius in Japan and China.
The automaker said this month sales of the Prius had topped one million vehicles since the launch in Japan in 1997, followed by North America, Europe and elsewhere in 2000.