Mazda pick 'sweet home Alabama' over NC for $1.6B plant

Japanese automakers Toyota, Mazda pick Alabama for $1.6 billion manufacturing plant, person briefed on situation says
Reports: Toyota/Mazda plant coming to Limestone County
Author

11 January, 2018

Perhaps as a response to threats by our president that the government would begin to levy tariffs on imported vehicles, Toyota and Mazda are rumored to be building a $1.6 billion factory in Huntsville, Alabama.

"Toyota and Mazda are not going to find a better site than ours", Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said in August.

San Antonio was hoping to attract the plant, which will be built in the Huntsville area and will employ about 4,000 people.

"The impact of an auto assembly plant extends beyond its immediate economic impact, and that's why states offer robust incentives", said Dennis Cuneo, a site-selection consultant and former Toyota executive.

The plant will be located near Huntsville.

The manufacturing plant is to be built in the Huntsville area not far from the Tennessee state line, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because the site hasn't been officially announced.

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 will use the plant to build its best-selling compact auto, the Corolla, while Mazda will use it to build a new crossover vehicle.

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"With this announcement, our world changes overnight", Battle said. "Starting from 2021, I'm confident that we run a highly competitive plant, by bringing together the expertise of Toyota and Mazda as well as the excellent Alabama workforce. It vaults Alabama to the top as an industry leader in producing the next generation of cars that will power our nation".

Officials in Alabama are expected to hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce the plant site.

For Mazda, the plant comes on line in a significant year that will mark the start of the company's second century of operation and second half-century of sales in the U.S. The automaker is enhancing its commitment to the U.S. market and will focus efforts on manufacturing and increasing sales in the country.

"Mazda makes cars with a clear vision of how we want to inspire people, contribute to society and help preserve the beauty of the Earth".

"The partnership between Toyota and Mazda will expand innovative automotive manufacturing in Alabama", Governor Ivey said.

Amid tightening environmental regulations in the US, the likely challenge will be to create new added value, such as locally producing electric cars and replacing production models to better reflect demand.

The news website AL.com reports that there are 57,000 Alabama residents employed in the industry, with more than 160 companies comprising the supplier chain.

With the addition of the new plant, Toyota will have 11 manufacturing plants across the U.S. Mazda now doesn't have a manufacturing presence in the U.S.


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