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

Toyota chief Akio Toyoda and Mazda chief Masamichi Kogai

Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda have picked Alabama as the site of a new $1.6 billion joint-venture auto manufacturing plant, a person briefed on the decision said Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.

After their announced manufacturing partnership in the USA last August, Toyota Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. decided on the site of their $1.6 billion joint production plant.

The State of Alabama is the fifth largest producer of cars and light trucks nationally with a strong automotive manufacturing presence including Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville, where Toyota employs 1,400 team members.

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. 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.

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Toyota now operates 10 plants in eight states including West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.

Workers at the plant are expected to build 300,000 vehicles per year and produce the Toyota Corolla compact auto starting in 2021.

Toyota and Mazda are forming a capital alliance and splitting the cost for the plant equally.

"With this announcement, our world changes overnight", Battle said. "It vaults Alabama to the top as an industry leader in producing the next generation of cars that will power our nation".

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and company executives held a joint news conference to announce that the facility is coming to the Huntsville area not far from the Tennessee line.

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

"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. 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.

It's hard to predict auto sales in three years but, at present, Toyota may not need the factory for Corolla production. Sullivan said the factory itself is a huge asset for the state, but it will also cause economic ripples by bringing spinoff jobs at suppliers and service companies in the area.

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When Toyota and Mazda announced their joint venture in August previous year, Trump took to Twitter to praise the Japanese automakers for their American-centric decision.



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