MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey has officially announced a Toyota-Mazda production plant is coming to north Alabama.
Ivey announced this is a $1.6 billion investment in Huntsville and will add 4000 new jobs with average salaries of $50,000 annually. The plant will have the capacity to produce 300,000 cars annually.
The plant marks an expansion for Toyota in north Alabama and Mazda's first production facility in North America. Masamichi Kogai, president and CEO of Mazda Motor Corporation, says the company looks forward to long relationships with Alabama.
"By working with the community, we hope to grow with the people of Alabama and Huntsville," Kogai said. "Both have given us a warm welcome. We will work together to be good citizens of this state."
Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Corporation, said every place the company works in becomes their hometown. He shared that Alabama was the first place he stayed in when he was a Boy Scout, his first extended stay away from home.
"Thanks to famous Southern hospitality, my first stay in America was a success and still special to me today," Toyoda said.
Twelve states were in competition for the new plant. The selection was eventually narrowed down to Alabama and North Carolina.
Sen. Richard Shelby reacted to the selection of Huntsville as the site for the new plant, saying he is "extremely proud."
"This facility will create thousands of jobs and strengthen economic growth throughout our state and region," Shelby said. "Alabama has a proven track record of creating an environment where world-class manufacturing operations thrive. Today's announcement speaks volumes about the capabilities and effectiveness of our state's skilled workforce, highlighting the continued truth that Alabama is open for business."
New senator Doug Jones said Toyota and Mazda's decision to build their plant in Huntsville is a testament to northern Alabama's manufacturing work force and proof that choosing common ground over divisiveness will drive business to the state.
"Today's announcement is a tremendous step forward for Alabama's growing technology sector and our ability to recruit quality businesses in the future," Jones said. "We must build on this momentum, and continue to focus our efforts on issues that affect hard-working Alabamians like creating good-paying jobs and providing students with the tools to attain them."
Rep. Martha Roby is also pleased about the new plant.
"The news that Toyota and Mazda have chosen Alabama as this new plant's home highlights once again that our great state is open for business," Roby said. "The decision by these companies is truly a testament to our impressive, skilled workforce and our state's business-friendly environment. This exciting investment in North Alabama not only comes with 4,000 new direct jobs, but also an economic impact that will be felt across the state for many years to come."
Late Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump congratulated the state.
"Good news: Toyota and Mazda announce giant new Huntsville, Alabama, plant which will produce over 300,000 cars and SUV's a year and employ 4,000 people. Companies are coming back to the U.S. in a very big way. Congratulations Alabama!"
Rep. Terri Sewell commented Thursday, saying she was "thrilled."
"I am thrilled to hear that a Toyota-Mazda automobile plant will be finding a home in the great State of Alabama," said Rep. Sewell. "I'm proud to see Toyota-Mazda investing in our state's workforce and continued economic development. This joint venture between Toyota and Mazda will eventually produce 300,000 vehicles a year and create as many as 4,000 jobs opportunities for families in our State. Investments in new technologies and facilities like these are imperative to Alabama's growing economy. As a Member of Congress, I believe we must strive to create a more job-ready workforce to continue to keep Alabama competitive and entice new business development across the State."
Production at the plant will be evenly split into two lines for each company to produce Mazda's crossover model and the Toyota Corolla. Operations are expected to begin in 2021.