Toyota and Mazda break ground on $1.6 billion plant in American South


Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. said Friday they have started building a new $1.6 billion plant in Huntsville, Alabama, with an eye to starting operations in 2021 and creating up to 4,000 jobs.

The new factory will have the capacity to produce 300,000 vehicles per year, with Toyota planning to manufacture Corollas and Mazda aiming to launch a crossover model for the North American market.

The plant marks Mazda’s return to American manufacturing operations after pulling out in August 2012. It also has a manufacturing plant in Mexico.

In August last year, the two carmakers announced they will form a capital tie-up to step up cooperation in areas including electric vehicle development and unveiled a plan to invest some $1.6 billion to build a new U.S. plant.

Alabama is the fifth-largest producer of cars and light trucks in the United States. With more than 150 automotive suppliers as well as carmakers, there are about 57,000 auto manufacturing jobs in the state.

As part of Friday’s groundbreaking, the Toyota-Mazda alliance donated $750,000 to support programs that will encourage and motivate local students to pursue a career in the field of advanced manufacturing.

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