Mazda, Toyota select Alabama for new $1.6B United States auto manufacturing plant

Japanese automakers Toyota, Mazda pick Alabama for $1.6 billion manufacturing plant, person briefed on situation says

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Toyota will use the plant to build its best-selling compact auto, the Corolla, while Mazda will use it to build a new crossover vehicle.

Perhaps as a response to threats by our president that the government would begin to levy tariffs on imported vehicles, Toyota and Mazda are rumored to be building a $1.6 billion factory in Huntsville, Alabama.

Trump tweeted in March he wanted "new plants to be built here for cars sold here". Corolla sales fell 14 percent for the year, to just under 309,000, according to Autodata Corp. That figure does not include a local incentive package still being finalized.

Top North Carolina economic development officials weren't commenting ahead of Wednesday's expected corporate announcement.

Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. announced the joint venture in August.

In November, it was reported that the automakers had narrowed down the candidates to Alabama and North Carolina.

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A year ago, President-elect Trump criticized Toyota and threatened hefty tariffs against the Japanese automaker if it built its Corolla sedan for the USA market in Mexico.

"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". Mazda plans to build new crossover SUVs at the plant. "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. A great investment in American manufacturing!"

The companies announced they would build a new plant at an undetermined location in August a year ago under a capital tie-up and almost 20 USA states sought to land the facility. Last year, Toyota and Mazda agreed to co-develop electric vehicles, connected-car systems, and safety technologies. Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, already provides hybrid technology to Mazda, which makes compact cars for Toyota at its Mexico plant.

Over the last 30 years Toyota, along with German and Asian automakers, has built a second auto industry in the United States, rivaling the operations of the Detroit Three automakers in size and employment, but with newer, and fewer unionized, plants. Southern U.S. states have the advantage of good transportation infrastructure, business-friendly regulators and generally anti-union politicians. Prior to that, they were reportedly considering more than a dozen states.

Alabama started on the road to becoming an auto manufacturing hub in 1993 when Mercedes chose it as the location for a manufacturing plant after the state offered a then-eye popping $250 million incentive package.

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