SENDAI, Dec. 14 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor East Japan Inc. on Friday began manufacturing engines for its popular hybrid vehicle Aqua at its new plant in Taiwa, Miyagi Prefecture.

The Toyota Motor Corp. unit has invested around 2 billion yen in the plant to produce 1500 cc engines for the compact hybrid car and supply the components to the firm's factory in Kanegasaki, Iwate Prefecture.

Toyota has said it will make Japan's northeastern region, damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, its third domestic production base after its home region of central Japan and the Kyushu region in the southwest as part of its effort to contribute to reconstruction of the disaster-ravaged district.

The Taiwa plant is Toyota group's fifth engine factory in Japan and the first for the northeastern region. It will initially assemble 100,000 engines annually.