By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, Toyota and Mazda announced that they were building a joint manufacturing plant at a site in Limestone County.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said, “Today is indeed a great day in the state of Alabama.”
“Growing businesses and creating opportunities for the people of Alabama is a process. I pledge to increase opportunities for the people of Alabama today and for generations to come. I am honored to announce that Toyota and Mazda has selected Alabama as home of their new production plant.”
Ivey said that Toyota and Mazda are making a $1.4 billion investment. The new plant will create 4,000 jobs at an average pay of $50,000 annually. “This announcement would not have happened without teamwork. I appreciate the fine work of Secretary Canfield and his staff.”
Ivey praised the leadership at both Toyota and Mazda.
“Thank you for believing in the potential of the people of Alabama,” Ivey said. “Thank you again and welcome to Sweet home Alabama.”
“This will have a major economic impact on the state of Alabama,” said Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield (R). “I am honored to share the stage with heads of two such innovative companies.”
Canfield said that his team has called this effort: “Project New World.”
“There are some projects that I describe as transformational. They only come out every two or three years. They are the kinds of projects that would win you a national championship, if there were economic development championships. I am thrilled today that we are announcing one of those transformational projects. Toyota and Mazda are the latest and greatest in a lineup of great companies to move to Alabama,” said Canfield.
The president of Mazda, Masamichi Kogai, said that, “Mazda is a company close to beginning its second century. I would like to thank Governor Ivey. I wanted to come myself today to tell the people about the new plant as soon as possible. I have a sincere appreciation for the people of Alabama and Huntsville. I would like to thank the people of Toyota for helping make this possible.”
Kogai said that Mazda was founded in 1920, marking a hundred years in 2020. Mazda came to America in 1970, marking 50 years in 2020. Kogai promised that Toyota and Mazda will use our combined technological ability to make this new factory the foremost leader in technology and innovation. “By making cars here in Alabama our plant will come to occupy a special place in the hearts of the community. Alabama and Huntsville have given us a warm welcome.”
The president of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, said, “I am very honored and excited to be here to announce a new investment in Alabama. This is a very exciting project for all of us.”
Toyoda said that Alabama already is home to hundreds of team members who build 700,000 engines a year.
“In every one of our home towns I visit I tell their leaders I appreciate your people,” Toyoda said. “Success can only be achieved if we work together. Together I am confident that we will create another built in America success story.”
The factory will be at the Limestone County TVA mega-site, which is in the city limits of Huntsville.
“I have no doubt that Mazda and Toyota will take the city of Huntsville to new heights,” said Canfield.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said they have been working on this for five months and have completed over 30 economic development agreements. “This is a win win for Mazda, Toyota, Huntsville, and the State of Alabama. I would like to thank Governor Ivey and Secretary of Commerce Canfield for another great partnership,” said Battle.
Mark Yarborough, the chairman of the Limestone County Commission said, “In the last three years I have been incredibly blessed to have several of these announcements. It was a team effort. We have all come together to create 4000 new job opportunities for our communities and families. This is a great day for Limestone County and it is only going to get better.”
Economic developer, Nicole Jones, explained, “Today is a day of historic significance for Alabama. Toyota and Mazda’s joint venture investment of a 1.6 billion dollar magnitude demonstrates confidence in our state’s business climate and workforce as well as the national economy.”
Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Toyota has been a part of Huntsville since 2001 and has invested over $900 million dollars in now four expansions at its facility that produces engines in north Huntsville. Toyota’s September 2017 investment in their own company placed Huntsville back ‘on the radar’ for the plant. The Toyota-Mazda plant will create approximately 4,000 advanced manufacturing jobs for Alabama, sought-after jobs that will provide wages Alabamians can live on with global companies that consistently invest in their workforce and communities. Toyota and Mazda’s monumental presence in Alabama highlights how our state leads the nation in the automotive manufacturing industry.”
State Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, told APR that Kay Ivey put politics aside both by working with Tommy Battle on this even though they are both running for governor and for keeping Canfield as commerce secretary even though he was a Bentley appointee. Ball said that it was a team effort.
Nicole Jones, who lives in the Huntsville area, added, “We thank Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Corporation, and Masamichi Kogai, President of Mazda, for investing in our state. Economic development is a team effort. Thank you to everyone who collaborated to make ‘Project New World’ happen.”
Alabama is already second in automobile manufacturing behind only Michigan. Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai, Navistar, Autocar and Polaris all manufacture motor vehicles here. While Toyota has had an engine plant in Alabama for the last 16 years; this is Mazda’s first manufacturing plant in North America.
The state has just set a new record low unemployment rate at just 3.5 percent.