Coverage: Toyota/Mazda to build plant in Alabama
Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor announced Wednesday that it will build a plant, which will employ 4,000 workers and crank out up to 300,000 vehicles annually, in Alabama that is scheduled to open in 2021.
Phil LeBeau of CNBC had the news:
Once that happens, Alabama could become the fourth-biggest state in the U.S. when it comes to manufacturing new vehicles. It’s currently tied for fifth, with Tennessee, in annual auto production, according to the Center for Automotive Research, which tracks vehicle manufacturing in the U.S.
“With this announcement, our world changes overnight,” said Tommy Battle, mayor of Huntsville. “It vaults Alabama to the top as an industry leader in producing the next generation of cars that will power our nation.”
That may be a bit of an exaggeration.
Data from the Center for Automotive Research show Michigan built 19 percent of the vehicles manufactured in the U.S. last year. That is more than double the production in Alabama.
Kim Chandler and Tm Krisher of the Associated Press reported that the state offered $370 million in incentives:
To lure the plant, the state offered an incentive package of $370 million in tax abatements and investment rebates, Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said. That figure does not include a local incentive package still being finalized. The state will also provide workforce training.
Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motors, said the new facility is something of a homecoming since the company already has one plant in the state.
The new Huntsville plant will be just 14 miles (22 kilometers) from Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, which produces four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines for several Toyota models.
The decision to pick Alabama is another example of foreign-based automakers building U.S. factories in the South. To entice manufacturers, Southern states have used a combination of lucrative incentive packages, low-cost labor and a pro-business labor environment since the United Auto Workers union is stronger in Northern states.
Neal E. Boudette of The New York Times reported that it’s Toyota’s fifth U.S. plant:
The new plant will be Toyota’s fifth in the United States, joining assembly factories in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi and Texas. The company also has an engine plant in Huntsville that will supply the new factory.
Toyota’s chief executive, Akio Toyoda, said he was confident the plant would be a “built-in-America success story.”
Huntsville is home to a number of aerospace manufacturers and has a highly educated work force. “We can’t wait to see ‘Made in Alabama’ in those vehicles rolling down the assembly line,” said Greg Canfield, Alabama’s secretary of commerce. “I have no doubt the Toyota-Mazda manufacturing facility will take Huntsville to new heights.”
The new Alabama plant is part of an initiative by Toyota to invest $10 billion in the United States over the next five years.