Alabama has entered the fast lane in its bid to become a major auto-making hub, securing a coveted joint venture plant of Toyota and Mazda. The Japanese manufacturers said it would eventually employ thousands.
Japanese carmakers Toyota and Mazda announced their plan to build a new $1.6-billion (€1.34-billion) plant in the southern US state of Alabama.
They said the factory would be in the city of Huntsville and was expected to be operational in 2021. The plant would produce about 300,000 vehicles per year and would eventually create up to 4,000 jobs, the two companies noted at a press conference with Alabama Governor Kay Ivey.
"The partnership between Mazda and Toyota will expand innovative automotive manufacturing in Alabama," Ivey said. "Their decision to locate this new facility in Huntsville is a testament to the talented workforce in our state."
Shift away from Detroit
Toyota already has a foothold in northern Alabama. It opened a car and truck engine plant there in 2003. Its new joint venture with Mazda shows the southern US states are increasingly competing with the traditional auto heartland of Detroit.
Germany's Daimler has been operating a plant in Alabama for more than two decades and recently announced it would expand its activities there.
Volkswagen has been manufacturing in the neighboring state of Tennessee since 2011, with BMW operating its largest final assembly plant in South Carolina.
hg/aos (AP, dpa)