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Mazda to build $1.6B production facility in Alabama
11 January 2018, 03:11 | Kenneth Drake
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Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the plant will "provide jobs for decades to come for Huntsville and Alabama". 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.
I am extremely proud that Huntsville was selected by Toyota and Mazda for the joint auto production plant.
The plant, which will employ up to 4,000 people and produce about 300,000 vehicles a year, will be located in Huntsville, Alabama, and is a boon for the state, where Toyota has a large engine plant and an existing network of automotive suppliers.
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.
In September, Daimler said it would invest $1 billion to expand its Alabama Mercedes-Benz plant to start building electric sport-utility vehicles there from about 2020.
The new plant -in a state Trump won by 28 points in 2016 - could be a political boost to the Republican president, who has urged automakers to build plants in the United States and add jobs.
Forbes reported on Tuesday, as news of Toyota-Mazda's decision to pick Alabama first leaked, that the plant represented "a big win" for Trump. The facility is expected to create 4,000 jobs and production is expected to begin by 2021. Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.6 million cars and trucks (2.4 million in the U.S.) in 2017 - and about 85 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 15 years are still on the road today.
Several states had competed for the coveted project, which will be able to turn out 300,000 vehicles per year and will produce the Toyota Corolla compact auto for North America and a new small SUV from Mazda.
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.
After reassessing the market, Toyota Motor Corp. has changed its plan to make Corollas at a plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, now under construction, and instead will produce Tacoma pickups there, Toyota has said.
A year ago, shortly before his inauguration, Trump criticized Toyota and threatened hefty tariffs against the Japanese automaker if it built its Corolla sedan for the USA market in Mexico.
Trump's tweet also included a video segment about the Toyota-Mazda plant from Fox Business News.
In October, Toyota said it would scale back investment in a planned plant in Mexico by 30 percent to $700 million and cut planned annual capacity in half to 100,000 vehicles as it shuffles its production plans to meet market demands.
States covet auto assembly plants because they typically pay above-average wages and spin off jobs at suppliers and service companies.
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