- The New York Times reports, based on an unnamed source, that Toyota, together with Mazda, will build a $1.6 billion auto manufacturing plant in Alabama.
- The factory reportedly will be located near Huntsville, employ approximately 4,000 people and produce the Toyota Corolla. It is unknown which model Mazda will be manufactured there.
- The plant, which is expected to open by 2021, will be able to turn out as many as 300,000 vehicles annually, and is part of a five-year, $10 billion Toyota investment initiative.
The Japanese automakers first announced the investment in August. At the time, there were questions about whether Toyota and Mazda would also discuss a plan to collaborate on electric cars, but they have not yet revealed details about any such project.
The southern United States has long been a favorite spot for foreign auto manufacturers to build factories. Little influence from auto unions, according to the Chicago Tribune, low-cost labor and states' and localities' willingness to offer attractive incentive packages are said to play a huge role in these decisions. Alabama, which state officials said offered $370 million in tax and investment rebates, produces 9% of the cars made in America, and is tied with Tennessee as the country's fifth largest producer of vehicles.
Another state that has seen a significant recent investment from a foreign auto manufacturer is South Carolina. Sweden-based Volvo announced in September that it would double the scope of its Charleston-area plant from $500 million to $1 billion. The factory will produce Volvo's new S60 sedan, employ almost 4,000 people, and have the capacity to make up to 100,000 vehicles a year.
South Carolina borrowed $123 million to round out its $200 million incentive package for Volvo, which includes some infrastructure work around the new plant.
And what goes better with cars than tires? In June, China-based Wanli Tire Corp. announced that it would build a $1 billion manufacturing plant in South Carolina. The state rolled out the financial red carpet for Wanli by requesting permission to borrow $40 million in order to get the site ready for construction and beef up the infrastructure around the future plant. Wanli said it will construct the factory in two phases during an eight-year period. When the plant opens, the company said it will fill about 1,200 permanent positions there.