Toyota, Mazda to build joint US plant in Alabama
Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda announced Wednesday they will build their $1.6 billion joint US manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama.
In August, the companies revealed their plans for the factory, which will eventually employ up to 4,000 people.
Production at the plant of vehicles for the US market is expected to begin in 2021. They also plan to jointly develop technologies for electric vehicles.
“Welcome to sweet home Alabama,” Governor Kay Ivey told the company chiefs.
Ivey said the plant, which will pay an average salary of $50,000, will help the economic development of the southern US state as it becomes “the leader in auto manufacturing.”
Mazda Motor chief Masamichi Kogai said the carmakers will “use the full extent of our technology capabilities to make this a cutting-edge plant that boasts world-class efficiency and quality.”
The new plant will have the capacity to build 300,000 vehicles annually, with production split evenly between the two carmakers to produce the Toyota Corolla and Mazda’s new crossover model, all aimed at the North American market.
This will be Mazda’s first production facility in North America, although Kogai said the nearly century-old company has been selling cars in the United States for nearly 50 years.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda noted that his company already has a plant in Huntsville that builds engines for cars and light trucks.
For Toyota, the joint-venture plant will be its 11th US manufacturing facility and is in addition to the $10 billion in investment over five years beginning in 2017 announced a year ago, according to a statement.
Huntsville is in the northern part of Alabama, one of the poorest US states which is nearly last in the country in per capita income. The city won a hotly contested bid to host the new facility.
Alabama is the fifth largest producer of cars and light trucks in the country and has approximately 57,000 automotive manufacturing jobs, if parts providers are counted, according to a statement from the governor’s office.