Officials react to Alabama Toyota-Mazda plant announcement

Officials react to Alabama Toyota-Mazda plant announcement

Alabama's Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield called the project, which was dubbed "New World", transformational and said "these are the kinds of projects that would win you a national championship, if there was such a thing in economic development".

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle joined Mazda (MZDAF) and Toyota leaders today to announce the automakers have selected Huntsville, Alabama as the site of their new joint-venture manufacturing plant.

The decision to pick Alabama is another example of foreign-based automakers building US factories in the South.

Toyota plans to build Corolla cars at the plant, while Mazda will build crossover SUVs.

The site for the new plant in Huntsville sits just 14 miles from Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, which produces four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines for several Toyota models.

Dziczek said that Alabama in 2017 was tied for fifth among US states in auto production, at 9 percent with Tennessee.

Alabama was tied with Tennessee as the fifth-largest producer of vehicles in the country a year ago, according to the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The plant also will make Mazda the most recent automaker to establish a final assembly plant in the United States. Many automakers have announced expansions of facilities or new jobs but no other new US auto plants have been announced.

Toyota and Mazda's decision to locate in Limestone County is great news for Alabama and the Tennessee Valley! US new vehicle sales fell 2 percent in 2017, after hitting a record high in 2016, and are expected to fall further in 2018.

Toyota and Mazda Motor Corp. also plan to work together on various advanced auto technology, such as electric vehicles, safety features and connected cars, as well as products that they could supply each other, they said.

Toyota and Mazda in August announced plans for a new USA factory, which will be able to build 300,000 vehicles per year and produce the Toyota Corolla compact auto starting in 2021.

A year ago, President-elect Trump criticized Toyota and threatened hefty tariffs against the Japanese automaker if it built its Corolla sedan for the USA market in Mexico.

A formal announcement of the decision is expected Wednesday. Toyota said it would shift production of Corollas from Canada to the new venture rather than in Guanajuato, and would build Tacoma pickups in Mexico instead.

There will be two production lines, which are expected to have an annual capacity of some 300,000 units.

Over the last 30 years Toyota, along with German and Asian automakers, has built a second auto industry in the United States, rivaling the operations of the Detroit Three automakers in size and employment, but with newer, and fewer unionized, plants. These states generally have good transportation infrastructure, business-friendly regulators and anti-union politicians.



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