January 20, 2018

Mazda to build $1.6B production facility in Alabama

14 January 2018, 05:22 | Virginia Santiago

Toyota Passes On NC, Will Park New Plant in Alabama

Employees work on an assembly line of the Toyota Motor Corp's Prius hybrid car at the Tsutsumi plant in Toyota central Japan

With the announcement of Toyota and Mazda planning to build a new final assembly plant in Huntsville, the state of Alabama is flexing its muscle and influence in the USA auto industry.

That does not include donation of the site of the plant and other incentives from local governments in or near Huntsville and Limestone County, where the companies will build the $1.6 billion plant.

To put that into perspective, the new factory is worth $1.6 billion.

The plant will be located near Huntsville.

The jobs credit is based on the workforce, said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, North Carolina lost out because it does not have the supply chain logistics that the vehicle companies want.

"Great news as Toyota and Mazda announce they are bringing 4,000 JOBS and investing $1.6 BILLION in Alabama, helping to further grow our economy!"

The Tennessee Valley did not win the Toyota and Mazda competition overnight.

Before Wednesday's announcement, some officials expressed doubt that the facility would be built in Kentucky, such as Jack Conner, president of Scott County United, a group that assists companies with economic development for Scott County. "Toyota has an engine plant in Huntsville and two other facilities nearby in MS, so this makes sense". The selection was eventually narrowed down to Alabama and North Carolina.

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"We're going to need new schools in five years, much less 10", said Madison City Schools Superintdent Robby Parker.

A so-called "mega-site" near the Guilford-Randolph county line was a finalist for the operation, and although North Carolina officials were bitterly disappointed they couldn't reel in the whale of all economic development projects, they had already turned the page by Wednesday afternoon and were looking toward landing the next project. Mazda set to participate in Toyota's vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) program.

Those plans, obviously, remain in place for the next potential occupant.

Bob Carter, executive vice president for vehicle sales for Toyota Motor North America, shrugged off any concerns about the new plant's prospects. "We're still competing for what is a very small pool of people".

There is reportedly another localized incentive package that has yet to be announced. "You are talking about creating over 2,000 construction jobs over the next three years", said Yarbrough. Coupled with the cheap labor and reduced presence of the United Auto Workers union, it's no wonder that the pact chose the "sweet home" state.

A 2 year course teaches these students first hand what it would be like to work for a manufacturing company.

With the Toyota-Mazda project, the state showed it could line up a package worth almost the entire cost of the project.

"It's so much more than a plant", Yarbrough said.

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