Toyota has delayed plans to begin production at a new auto assembly plant in Mississippi after considering the slowing U.S. economy, a senior Toyota executive said on Monday.

The $1.3 billion plant, which is under construction, will now begin operating in mid-2010, Toyota Executive Vice President Mitsuo Kinoshita told reporters in Tokyo, according to the Associated Press.

Initially, the plan was to have the 1,700 acre plant in the northeastern part of the state running by late 2009 or early 2010. It will be the 8th U.S. plant for Toyota.

We made adjustments within a certain range of time, he said. The change wasn't that critical.

Production will begin at a volume of 120,000 vehicles, about 80 percent short of its capacity, a company spokesman told Reuters.

About 2,000 employees are expected to work there.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour says Toyot officials have been speaking with him for months about a possible delay, according to AP.