Officials announce Toyota-Mazda production facility in Huntsville

The announcement means 4,000 new jobs could be on the way to north Alabama.

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 1:31 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 4:11 PM

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, and officials from Toyota and Mazda announced Wednesday afternoon that Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda will build a $1.6 billion automotive plant in Huntsville-annexed Limestone County, bringing thousands of jobs to the area.

Ivey made the announcement in a 2 p.m. Wednesday news conference carried LIVE on WAAY-TV and streamed at waaytv.com.

According to reports, the plant will be built on a site between Powell Road and Greenbrier Parkway that is certified as a Tennessee Valley Authority "mega site" -- a designation that means it is a prime location for industry complete with interstate access, the potential for rail service, and utility service capable of serving a major manufacturing facility.

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

Toyota and Mazda plan to split the cost of the plant equally. It's expected to begin operation in 2021 and would build Toyota Corollas and a new small SUV from Mazda, the companies have said. The facility would be able to building 300,000 vehicles a year.

"Our investment to establish a new vehicle assembly plant with Mazda builds on the strong success we have enjoyed in Alabama where we produce engines for the North American market," said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.

In 2008, the area was a potential home for Volkswagen to locate a manufacturing plant. That site ended up going to Chattanooga, where according to the company, 3,200 people are employed.

Toyota already has an engine manufacturing plant in Huntsville that employs 1,450 people. That plant, which makes engines for Toyota trucks and SUVs, recently announced it is investing $106 million to revamp its engine production line. 

The companies originally announced plans for the plant in August when the two Japanese automakers signed a joint venture agreement, though the location was not known at that time. But the companies said at that time that the plant would be in the United States.

The plant is expected to start building cars in 2021. Toyota will use the plant to build its best-selling compact car, the Corolla, while Mazda will use its production to build a new crossover vehicle.

Toyota had originally planned to build a new Corolla plant in Mexico, but after the joint venture plans were announced in August, Toyota changed course and decided to build the Tacoma pickup at the plant in Mexico and the new Corolla production at the new U.S. plant.

Toyota had been under fire about building Corollas in Mexico. Just before taking office last January President Trump attacked Toyota's plans.

"Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY!" Trump tweeted. on January 5, 2017. "Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax."

But despite the threat of a border tax, Toyota is moving ahead with plans to build trucks at the Mexico plant, even if it will not build Corollas there.

The company had been making Corollas in the U.S. at a plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi and always planned to keep making vehicles there. By building the new Corolla plant in Huntsville, rather than Mexico, it will have easier access to suppliers of Blue Springs plant. Those suppliers are mostly based in the South.

Toyota has 10 existing U.S. factories. Overall it has 36,000 U.S. employees, not including those at dealerships. It produces most of the cars and trucks it sells in the U.S. at those U.S. plants and exports some of those cars to other markets.

Most of Toyota's U.S. plants are in the South, and all are non-union. Mazda does not currently have any U.S. factories. Other foreign automakers have built plants across the U.S. South as well. Alabama is the fifth largest state in terms of auto production with more than 1 million cars built there annually. In addition to the existing Toyota engine plant it has plants for Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes-Benz. It also has a relatively low unemployment rate of only 3.5%, the lowest rate in the state's history.

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 43°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 49°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 42°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 43°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 40°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 524367

Reported Deaths: 10807
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson756511496
Mobile40258800
Madison34165498
Tuscaloosa25448445
Montgomery24089574
Shelby23250243
Baldwin20787302
Lee15670166
Calhoun14375313
Morgan14180274
Etowah13716348
Marshall12022220
Houston10427279
Elmore10011202
Limestone9873149
Cullman9512191
St. Clair9508236
Lauderdale9293234
DeKalb8774183
Talladega8131173
Walker7153277
Autauga6793107
Jackson6772110
Blount6556133
Colbert6240132
Coffee5435113
Dale4780111
Russell432139
Franklin421882
Chilton4153110
Covington4084116
Tallapoosa3943149
Escambia390375
Dallas3529150
Chambers3526122
Clarke347660
Marion3084100
Pike306776
Lawrence297696
Winston273272
Bibb256961
Marengo248461
Geneva246475
Pickens233359
Barbour228455
Hale219175
Butler214068
Fayette210560
Henry188344
Cherokee182945
Randolph178741
Monroe174040
Washington165838
Macon156849
Clay150956
Crenshaw149957
Cleburne147141
Lamar139834
Lowndes137853
Wilcox125427
Bullock122140
Conecuh109828
Perry107626
Sumter103332
Coosa100928
Greene91534
Choctaw59024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 837833

Reported Deaths: 12111
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby933421591
Davidson88250926
Knox49926625
Hamilton43501488
Rutherford42422423
Williamson27589215
Sumner23549345
Montgomery19740224
Wilson18547229
Out of TN1797995
Unassigned16778133
Sullivan16266287
Blount15213194
Bradley14670148
Washington14243244
Maury13261170
Sevier13204175
Putnam11193173
Madison10853241
Robertson9627129
Anderson8639171
Hamblen8522171
Greene7746152
Tipton7235104
Coffee6833121
Dickson6740109
Cumberland6586128
Carter6487156
Bedford6439129
Gibson6410144
McMinn637897
Roane6197102
Jefferson6089124
Loudon602469
Lawrence582086
Hawkins5802106
Monroe572495
Warren551881
Dyer5371104
Franklin509488
Fayette493678
Obion450396
Cheatham445954
Cocke444298
Rhea431575
Lincoln430963
Marshall412358
Campbell410562
Weakley403763
Giles396299
Henderson373276
Macon358677
Carroll357782
White356269
Hardin350566
Hardeman346764
Lauderdale314444
Henry312675
Marion310846
Claiborne307373
Scott305745
Overton298161
Wayne294434
Hickman280746
McNairy277254
DeKalb275753
Smith275238
Haywood268461
Grainger259649
Trousdale249122
Morgan246339
Fentress238446
Johnson232238
Bledsoe210111
Chester209651
Crockett201548
Polk200324
Unicoi195249
Cannon189231
Union186534
Grundy178433
Humphreys174622
Lake169626
Sequatchie167028
Benton163440
Decatur157538
Lewis156626
Meigs135124
Stewart131028
Jackson130035
Clay109431
Houston108633
Perry105728
Moore100217
Van Buren83622
Pickett75724
Hancock55712

Community Events