Toyota, Mazda to build $1.6 billion plant in Alabama

SA loses out on new Toyota-Mazda factory, AP source says

The Alabama Department of Commerce shows 150 of the large automotive suppliers operate in the state, providing the logistical strength that Kristin Dziczek, a researcher at the Center for Automotive Research in MI, said helped land the plant.

It's now official - Huntsville, Ala. has been selected by Toyota Motor Corporation and Mazda Motor Corporation as the site of their new $1.6 billion joint-venture auto manufacturing plant.

The decision to pick Alabama is another example of foreign-based automakers building USA factories in the South. In September Toyota announced a $106 million technology upgrade for the Huntsville plant.

The plant will employ about 4,000 people and will be built in the Huntsville area in Limestone County, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because the location hasn't been officially announced. "By making such cars here in Alabama, we hope that over time our plant will come to occupy a special place in the hearts of our employees and the local community", Kogai said.

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

"Our investment to establish a new vehicle assembly plant with Mazda builds on the strong success we have enjoyed in Alabama where we produce engines for the North American market", Toyoda said. US new vehicle sales fell 2 percent in 2017, after hitting an all-time record high in 2016, and are expected to fall further in 2018.

Alabama is already home to a Toyota engine plant and offers easy access to a major south-north highway.

US sales of small cars fell almost 10 percent a year ago as buyers continued a massive shift toward SUVs and pickup trucks.

Toyota North America chief executive Jim Lentz said in an interview on Wednesday that pressure from Trump was not a factor in the decision to build the plant.

Some reports say Toyota and Mazda were asking for an incentive package worth over a billion dollars. 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. Building passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and crossover SUVs, with an emphasis on the driving experience and a focus on design, engineering and efficient manufacturing, the company sells more than 1.55 million vehicles annually.

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

States covet auto assembly plants because they typically pay above-average wages and spin off jobs at suppliers and service companies.

The two firms past year formed a capital alliance and announced a plan to build the factory for 1.6 billion dollars in the United States by 2021. Southern U.S. states have the advantage of good transportation infrastructure, business-friendly regulators and generally anti-union politicians.

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