MONTGOMERY, Ala. — On Wednesday, state officials and company leaders announced that Toyota and Mazda will establish a new plant in Huntsville as part of a new joint-venture. Governor Kay Ivey and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle were joined by Mazda Motor Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Masamichi Kogai and Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda to make the announcement.
According to the governor, the $1.6 billion investment will be made with equal funding contributions. “The partnership between Toyota and Mazda will expand innovative automotive manufacturing in Alabama,” Ivey said. “Their decision to locate this new facility in Huntsville is a testament to the talented workforce in our state. We are proud that this partnership puts Alabama on the forefront of technology in this dynamic global industry.”
Production is slated to begin in 2021 and reach 300,000 vehicles produced annually. The new facility is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs. “This is a great day in Alabama,” said Ivey. “This announcement would not have happened without teamwork. When economic success occurs it’s because there is true teamwork with economic success in mind,” she continued.
The move marks Mazda’s first plant in Alabama. This will be the 11th U.S. manufacturing facility for Toyota, including another plant in Alabama. The new plant in Huntsville will be located just 14 miles from Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, which produces four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines for multiple Toyota models.
“Our investment to establish a new vehicle assembly plant with Mazda builds on the very success we have enjoyed in Alabama, where we produce engines for the North America market,” Toyoda said. “Starting from 2021, I’m confident that we run a highly competitive plant, by bringing together the expertise of Toyota and Mazda as well as the excellent Alabama workforce. We are committed to becoming a ‘best-in-town company’ in the city of Huntsville and the state of Alabama, a new hometown for Toyota and Mazda.”
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle spoke at the announcement as well, highlighting the importance of the decision. “With this announcement, our world changes overnight,” Battle said. “Toyota and Mazda, two of the world’s most innovative automakers, have created a legacy project that will provide jobs for decades to come for Huntsville and Alabama. It vaults Alabama to the top as an industry leader in producing the next generation of cars that will power our nation.”
Alabama is already the fifth largest producer of cars and light trucks nationally. The automotive industry already supplies roughly 57,000 manufacturing jobs.
“In a single generation, Alabama has become a powerhouse in the auto industry, and the Toyota-Mazda joint-venture manufacturing facility will provide another potent catalyst for sustained growth in the sector,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“We expect the new facility in Huntsville to act as a magnet for substantial new industry investment and job-creation that lifts communities and families across the state,” he added.
The location that drew the interest of Toyota and Mazda is the TVA megasite in Huntsville near Exit 3 off I-565. The site is 1,200 acres, and mostly farmland now, but will soon be home to a plant employing 4,000 people.
The City of Huntsville has taken steps to set up a special tax district for the property. The plan would use property taxes generated from the site to cover the costs of infrastructure needed for such a plant.
House Speaker Mac McCutcheon told us last week, the state of Alabama set up a fund two years ago that could help lure a major industrial prospect. “Monies were set aside, to help us be competitive,” McCutcheon explained. “And so yes, it`s more than just a check out of the general fund to this.”