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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The automotive plant under construction in Huntsville will not begin production in the spring of 2021 as planned because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The $1.6 billion Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant is one of the largest economic developments in Alabama history with the promise of creating 4,000 jobs.

Mazda Toyota released a statement to our news partner that reads: “On April 9, we informed state and local government officials in Alabama, along with our key suppliers how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our ability to maintain critical equipment delivery schedules, creating labor shortages, and slowing construction. As a result, we will delay the start of production of the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant to a time period later in 2021. We are eager to keep the project moving forward and appreciate the ongoing support of all key stakeholders.”

Gov. Kay Ivey alluded to the delay in a statement as well.

“I understand the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the construction and operation of a major manufacturing facility like Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA.” Ivey’s statement said. “I am confident that the automakers will move forward on their adjusted timeline to begin production at the Alabama facility, where they will turn out world-class vehicles. We’ll work with company leaders to assist them to bring this project to completion.”

“Our partners at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA have been working under an aggressive timeline to bring the Huntsville plant online and the challenges presented by the coronavirus have naturally impacted that schedule,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said in a statement to “Our infrastructure for the project has also been affected by the pandemic as well as suppliers to both the City and MTMUS. We’re all in this together, and we’ll be here to support MTMUS as the company works to get the new facility up and running.”

Mazda Toyota did not say how long the delay would be.