New manufacturing plant

Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda, speaks at the announcement of the new joint Toyota-Mazda manufacturing plant.

Toyota and Mazda to build new assembly plant in Huntsville, Alabama, cementing the state’s position and influence in the U.S. auto industry.

The plant aims to manufacture around 300,000 vehicles annually, to do this they will also be employing 4,000 workers.

Once opened in 2021, the plant could make Alabama the fourth-biggest state in the U.S. when it comes to auto manufacturing.

“With this announcement, our world changes overnight,” said Tommy Battle, mayor of Huntsville. “It vaults Alabama to the top as an industry leader in producing the next generation of cars that will power our nation.”

Why is Alabama a top choice for auto manufacturers and suppliers?

This plant is going to be in the centre of auto alley,” said Thomas Klier, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Klier says Alabama benefits from being so close to other Toyota facilities.

“It’s a very sensible location,” he said. “Toyota has an engine plant in Huntsville and two other facilities nearby in Mississippi, so this makes sense.”

This is comes as no surprise, Trump criticized Toyota and threatened hefty tariffs against the Japanese automaker if it built its Corolla sedan for the U.S. market in Mexico.

When announcing the plans Toyota said it would shift production of Corollas from Canada to the new venture rather than in Guanajuato and would build Tacoma pickups in Mexico instead.

While Toyota plans to build Corollas, Mazda is using their new facility in Alabama to build SUVs.

The Japanese automaker wants to improve a model line-up that has historically relied more on cars than utility vehicles.

Last year, Mazda sold just under 300,000 vehicles in the U.S.