Huntsville lands $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda manufacturing plant
Published on January 10, 2018
The TVA-certified megasite in Huntsville-Limestone County will be the future home for a new automotive manufacturing plant as part of a coveted $1.6 billion investment between Toyota Motor Corporation and Mazda Motor Corporation.
Toyota and Madza ended a five-month national competition over their site selection for the joint venture at a news conference today in Montgomery. Toyota President Akio Toyoda and Madza President and CEO Masamichi Kogai joined Governor Kay Ivey, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Limestone County Commission Chair Mark Yarbrough in announcing plans for this monumental project.
The two companies will build their automotive manufacturing facility on 2,400 acres in the western portion of Huntsville, near I-565 and I-65. The plant will have the capacity to produce 300,000 cars annually and employ about 4,000 workers. Production 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.
“With this announcement, our world changes overnight,” said Mayor Battle. “Toyota and Mazda, two of the world’s most innovative automakers, have created a legacy project that will provide jobs for decades to come for Huntsville and Alabama. It vaults Alabama to the top as an industry leader in producing the next generation of cars that will power our nation.”
For Toyota, this joint-venture plant will be its 11th U.S. manufacturing facility, which includes the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama engine operation in North Huntsville.
“Our investment to establish a new vehicle assembly plant with Mazda builds on the very success we have enjoyed in Alabama where we produce engines for the North American market,” Toyoda said. “Starting from 2021, I’m confident that we run a highly competitive plant, by bringing together the expertise of Toyota and Mazda as well as the excellent Alabama workforce. We are committed to becoming a ‘best-in-town company’ in the city of Huntsville and the state of Alabama, a new hometown for Toyota and Mazda.”
For Mazda, the facility comes online in a significant year that will mark the start of the company’s second century of operation and second half-century of sales in the U.S.
“Mazda makes cars with a clear vision of how we want to inspire people, contribute to society and help preserve the beauty of the earth,” Kogai said. “By making such cars here in Alabama, we hope that over time our plant will come to occupy a special place in the hearts of our employees and the local community. By making this plant a vibrant part of that community, we hope to work, learn and grow together with the people of Alabama and Huntsville.”
TOYOTA – MAZDA PARTNERSHIP
When Toyota and Mazda first announced their alliance in August 2017, the company cited the agreement as a milestone in the journey to further strengthen and accelerate the partnership in a sustainable way.
Specifically, the companies agreed to: 1) establish a joint venture that produces vehicles in the United States, 2) jointly develop technologies for electric vehicles, 3) jointly develop connected-car technology, 4) collaborate on advanced safety technologies and 5) expand complementary products.
The decision between two major competitors to bring their remarkable alliance to Huntsville isn’t a surprise to a city that prides itself on “making things go.”
“Huntsville made its mark on innovation and technology, and when you look at the Toyota-Mazda vision, it matches our community,” said Mayor Battle. “They are looking 10, 20, 40 years ahead in future mobility – into hydrogen cells, electric vehicles and autonomous driving vehicles. With Toyota-Mazda developing this expertise in our Rocket City, it makes us one of the most highly technical areas in the world.”
WATCH Toyota-Mazda Announcement
Recruiters say Huntsville hit all of the right checkboxes for an industry of this magnitude – strong workforce, excellent education, good infrastructure and high quality of life. Huntsville leaders also point to the shovel-ready TVA megasite as another enticement for a regional workforce production megaproject.
In 2008, the City of Huntsville commissioned Sasaki Associates to create a master plan for thousands of acres of newly annexed land in Limestone County. The City has been investing in roads, sewer and utilities there ever since. In June 2016, the work paid off and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) certified 1,242 acres as a megasite. Just 14 months later, Toyota and Mazda came knocking.
“Many factors are involved in a decision of this magnitude, and it starts with workforce. You can have the best project site, but if you don’t have the workforce, you don’t have anything. Fortunately for Huntsville, we have it all,” said Shane Davis, Urban Development Director for the City of Huntsville.
Yarbrough says the project provides a multi-generational impact for North Alabama. “The scope of what this means for our schools and community is powerful,” he said. “There will be 4,000 more opportunities for people in our community to get a good job and provide for their families.”
Numerous governmental agencies were involved in bringing the Toyota-Mazda plant to Huntsville. In the coming weeks, each entity will be publicly approving their respective agreements and incentives in support of the joint venture. Their contributions and willingness to work as a team were critical in making the project happen.
“The partnership that made our community so attractive to the Toyota-Mazda Joint Venture is something we should celebrate,” said Chip Cherry, CEO Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County. The teamwork exhibited by our partners and the team is amazing. We are honored to have Toyota expand their presence in our region and have Mazda join our family of outstanding businesses.”
Mayor Battle will bring a development agreement on the project to City Council for approval on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.
2,400 acres in Huntsville-Limestone County
Site is 14 miles from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama’s engine assembly plant
Up to 4,000 jobs
$1.6 billion investment
$50,000 average salary (exclusive of benefits)
$200+ million annual payroll
Capacity to produce 300,000 cars annually
Dual assembly lines to produce Corollas and Mazda crossover
Toyota-Mazda (Project New World) Incentives/Benefits