Alabama on short list for Toyota-Mazda plant

Japan’s top automaker had initially planned to start building the Corolla sedan at the $1 billion Guanajuato plant but said last week it would switch production to a new US factory to be built with Mazda Motor Corp.

Toyota’s new North America headquarters, other states on the companies’ shortlist are Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina, WSJ reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the potential investment.

The duo will also be opening a manufacturing facility in the United States, which will come online from 2021, and the factory will produce various different models including the Corolla for the American market.

Terry Gill, Bevin’s top economic development official, said in an interview that the governor was referring to a state-owned greenfield site called Glendale off Interstate 65 in the Elizabethtown area. Bevin says he has a personal relationship with Toyota president Akio Toyoda and says he will impress upon company executives that no state is in better position for the plant than Kentucky.

Toyota said the delay was necessary to adjust its supply chain in Mexico to produce the truck-based Tacoma pickup model instead of the Corolla compact auto.

North Carolina is now the only state in the southeast without a plant.

Toyota has a plant in Kentucky that makes Camry and Avalon models.

The news agency cited the fact that the MS plant already makes the Corolla model.

“I would love to say the story is Kentucky but I don’t know”, said Joseph McCabe, of Auto Forecast Solutions.

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