Mazda pick 'sweet home Alabama' over NC for $1.6B plant

Employees work on an assembly line of the Toyota Motor Corp's Prius hybrid car at the Tsutsumi plant in Toyota central Japan

Mazda pick 'sweet home Alabama' over NC for $1.6B plant

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.

Toyota and Mazda are expected to split the cost of the plant, but state and local governments expect to heavily incentivize the automakers for locating in Alabama.

Gov. Kay Ivey will "make a major economic development announcement" today at 2 p.m., her office has announced.

A year ago, shortly before his inauguration, Trump criticized Toyota and threatened hefty tariffs against the Japanese automaker if it built its Corolla sedan for the US market in Mexico. The companies originally announced plans for a USA plant in August when the two Japanese automakers signed a joint venture agreement, though the exact location was not known at that time.

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"Toyota & Mazda to build a new $1.6B plant here in the United States of America and create 4K new American jobs".

The joint venture will receive roughly $380 million in incentives from the state of Alabama, including a jobs credit of $90.6 million and an investment credit of $210 million over 10 years, according to a release from the Alabama Department of Commerce.

But with USA auto industry sales are declining, the new plant could exacerbate overcapacity and add pressure to cut prices.

Trump tweeted in March that he wanted "new plants to be built here for cars sold here". It produces most of the cars and trucks it sells in the those US plants and exports some of those cars to other markets. "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". Toyota already has a large presence in Huntsville, as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama already employs 1,450 people.

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The plant would be Alabama's fourth auto assembly plant, following Mercedes-Benz in Vance, Honda in Lincoln and Hyundai in Montgomery.

But despite the threat of a border tax, Toyota is moving ahead with plans to build trucks at the Mexico plant, even if it will not build Corollas there.

In October, Toyota said it would scale back investment in a planned plant in Mexico by 30 percent to $700 million and cut planned annual capacity in half to 100,000 vehicles as it shuffles its production plans to meet market demands. Other foreign automakers have built plants across the South as well. Its size and employment rivals operations of the Detroit Three automakers, but with newer plants and fewer unionized workers.

Following Pres. Donald Trump's tariff-tough talk in 2016, Toyota was grilled by the then-President-Elect via Twitter about moving manufacturing jobs outside the USA, threatening crippling tariffs on automakers that didn't build new facilities in the states. Southern states have been home to the majority of new auto production by German and Asian automakers.

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