Alabama Plant On The Way for Mazda and Toyota

A woman touches Toyota's vehicle decorated as shape of dog at its headquarters in Tokyo
A woman touches Toyota's vehicle decorated as shape of dog at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, February 6, 2017. (Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD)

The future manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama as a result of Mazda and Toyota's joint venture looks to be underway less than a year after its announcement. The auto-manufacturers' plans may have hit a speed bump earlier in the year, but more recent development point towards its continued construction.

According to AutoNews, the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Mazda-Toyota plant occurred last Friday. The publication also notes that the Mazda and Toyota plant will have access to 3.3 million square feet of space and will approximately cost around $1.6 billion. With Mazda and Toyota's major investment in the facilities also comes the opportunity for the local population. The auto-manufacturing plant's presence in Huntsville, Alabama will provide jobs for up to 4,000 locals.

According to a Toyota spokeswoman, strategic planning for the plant's operations have already begun with Mazda and Toyota currently focused on being able to start hiring and training the workers the plant needs to operate. Those working in the Mazda-Toyota factory are expected to produce 300,000 vehicles a year; 150,000 units of which will be Mazda's new crossover model, and 150,000 units of Toyota's upcoming 2020 Toyota Corolla.

The joint venture allows the two automobile producers access to state of the art production facilities while buffering itself from an expected drop in sedan sales in the near future. The shared manufacturing facilities provide both Mazda and Toyota production flexibilities should the expected trend in demand for sedans come to fruition.

In addition to the job opportunities provided by Mazda and Toyota's upcoming auto-manufacturing plant, the Japanese manufacturers are also looking into supporting the local education system. According to Cnet, Mazda and Toyota are donating $750,000 to support STEM-related programs in Alabama, $500,000 of which will go to the Huntsville Madison County Chamber Foundation (HMCCF).

The publication also notes that the money provided by Mazda and Toyota to the HMCCF will be used to develop a career exploration online platform that students can use to consider manufacturing careers. The $250,000 left from the donation will be distributed to six school districts that can help their programs create more interest in technical careers related to manufacturing.

While Mazda and Toyota's manufacturing plant plans were initially slowed down by an environmental issue complaint from the Center for Biological Diversity, it appears that such concerns are no longer an issue. It seems Mazda and Toyota have come to an agreement with the organization and its concerns over the habitats of the spring pygmy sunfish by including the organization in conservation effort planning for the sunfish.

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