Louisiana offered a $500 million incentive package in its unsuccessful bid to land a $1.6 billion joint Toyota-Mazda automobile plant that chose Alabama instead.
We asked our Facebook audience why they think Toyota and Mazda passed over North Carolina for an auto production plant. Mazda will produce crossovers alongside Toyota Corolla compact cars at the joint facility.
The Japanese automakers had been narrowing the list of possible locations for months before choosing the site that's just 14 miles from Toyota's nearby engine plant.
For Toyota, this joint-venture plant will be its 11th US manufacturing facility and represents its continued commitment in the USA, in addition to the $10 billion dollar investment over the next 5 years that was announced in January 2017. The companies originally announced plans for a US plant in August when the two Japanese automakers signed a joint venture agreement, though the exact location was not known at that time.
"Alabama's automotive manufacturers continued to make impressive strides in 2017, while also laying the groundwork for growth".
In all, the new investment in the state is expected to create more than 600 jobs and upgrade a plant that the company already describes as one of the world's "smartest" manufacturing facilities.
US sales of small cars fell almost 10 percent a year ago as buyers continued a massive shift toward SUVs and pickup trucks.
"The partnership between Mazda and Toyota will expand innovative automotive manufacturing in Alabama", said Gov. Kay Ivey. By building the new Corolla plant in Huntsville, rather than Mexico, it will have easier access to suppliers of Blue Springs plant. The state produced 9 percent of the cars made in the USA, the center said.
Most of Toyota's USA plants are in the South, and all are non-union.
"Alabama won a first place trophy today in being selected for that plant", said Dave Sullivan, product analysis manager at AutoPacific Inc., an automotive research company. Mazda does not now have any USA factories. Toyota's existing engine plant in Huntsville employs 1,400 team members. The statewide unemployment rate was 3.5% in November.