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Shoals poised to benefit from Toyota-Mazda announcement

FLORENCE, Ala. – Economic leaders in north Alabama are saying Wednesday’s announcement by Toyota and Mazda doesn’t come around very often. Aside from the jobs being directly created at the assembly plant – hundreds if not thousands will be created across the region.

Several years ago the Shoals dipped into the auto-industry. Tier one and tier two suppliers provide assembly parts to numerous automotive leaders. North American Lighting has grown into the largest employer in the Shoals.

Economic leaders say Wednesday’s announcement put’s northwest Alabama in a great position for growth.

Forrest Wright

“We do have some very successful auto suppliers that are here already and because they are here and successful, that is a testament that you can be successful in this area,” stated Forrest Wright, the President of the Shoals Economic Development Authority.

Wright said more than 2,000 jobs in the Shoals have been created thanks to the automotive industry. He’s excited about the future possibilities the Toyota – Mazda plant is bringing.

“Auto assembly operations have a lot of suppliers that need to be a certain distance from the plant and all of us will see a lot of those in the next couple of years,” Wright explained.

Wright said logistics in keeping the assembly plant running is everything. Which is why SEDA is already developing their marketing strategy to lure the suppliers towards the Shoals. They have created websites to help suppliers see what northwest Alabama has to offer. According to SEDA officials, those sites will be going live Wednesday.

SEDA has also constructed two buildings in Rogersville which are ready to be occupied if a supplier wants something immediately.