HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Toyota plans to bring two new engine lines to the Huntsville engine manufacturing plant, which will account for 450 new jobs in Huntsville, officials said Thursday morning.
The company plans to invest $288 million in new 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engine lines, Toyota North Alabama president David Fernandes said at a news conference. The added jobs are the largest hiring event in the plant's history.
Since the Huntsville plant has opened it has produced more than 6 million engines.
"Last year our 1,400 team members built 630,000 engines, that's pretty amazing," said Mike Clark, general manager of manufacturing.
Employees are building 2,600 engines a day.
"One-third of Toyota vehicles built in North America are powered by engines produced right here," said Clark.
The $288 million investment is going to drive up production 35%, increasing the plant's annual engine capacity from 670,000 to 900,000 by the end of 2021.
The plant will also roll out two new engine lines.
"So this new announcement is for a new 4-cylinder and a V6 engine line," said David Fernandes, Huntsville Plant President.
Fernandes says production will begin for the new 4-cylinder engine in 2020. Then the next year they'll begin building the V6 engine.
"And that's going to require us to do an expansion for the 6-cylinder line," Fernandes said.
The facility will need to fill 450 jobs to meet its new manufacturing demands. It's the largest hiring need in the plant's history. While production for the new engine lines won't start until 2020, the plant is going to start filling the 450 needed positions immediately.
"It means from all across north Alabama and even into south Tennessee, we'll be providing employment for people, and they'll have jobs, and it'll add to our economy," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
Other city and state leaders joined mayor Tommy Battle at the announcement.
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, says Alabama's automotive sector is a success story that happened quickly.
"I think if we continue to have days like today the automotive sector in the state of Alabama will propel this state to being, if not the number one, perhaps the number two state in terms of automotive excellence and production," Canfield said.
In addition to the investment in Alabama, Toyota officials announced their plan to invest a total of $13 billion in its US operations by 2021 with plans to add 600 new jobs at American manufacturing plants. This is a $3 billion increase from their 2017 announcement when they pledged to invest $10 billion.
The company is planning to invest $749 million in its Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and West Virginia plants Alabama is seeing the largest investment. The company is funneling $288 million into the Huntsville plant.
The plant has expanded several times since it went online in 2001. In September 2017, Toyota announced it was investing $106 million.
Toyota and Mazda also are building an auto manufacturing plant in eastern Limestone County that is expected to employ up to 4,000 workers. For information on job opportunities and how to apply, click here.
Toyota announces $1 million donation to increase literacy
In addition to these investments, the company announced a one million dollar grant to the National Center for Families Learning to promote literacy. $500 thousand of that will go directly to Huntsville and Decatur through the "Alabama Network of Family Resources Centers. This donation is part of Toyota's focus on building the future workforce. Officials from the company say literacy is a fundamental part of career preparedness.