Toyota and Mazda have chosen Huntsville, Alabama, as the site of a $1.6-billion joint venture assembly plant scheduled to open by 2021. Called Project New World according to Alabama commerce secretary Greg Canfield, the new factory will employ about 4,000 people at an average of $50,000 per year.
The Huntsville plant will build up to 300,000 vehicles annually and will assemble the Toyota Corolla and a Mazda crossover model new to the North American market. The plan has led to speculation that Mazda would bring its new CX-4 crossover, currently built in China for that market, to North America.
Toyota and Mazda say annual production at Huntsville will be split evenly between the two automakers.
Toyota sold 308,695 Corolla sedans built in its Blue Springs, Mississippi, plant in 2017, and sold an additional imported 20,501 Corolla iM hatchbacks last year. Mazda sold 127,563 CX-5 sport/utility vehicles (the closest in size to the Chinese CX-4, and its bestseller here) that were imported to the U.S. last year. Mazda builds its CX-3 and for Toyota, the subcompact Yaris iA sedan, at its Salamanca, Guanajuato plant in Mexico.
Huntsville marks the 11th U.S. factory for Toyota, and the first for Mazda since it pulled out of a joint-venture plant still operated by Ford Motor Company in Flat Rock, Michigan. The new facility will be built about 11 miles from Toyota’s Alabama engine plant.
The two Japanese automakers last year announced a joint venture in which they will share development of electric vehicle, connected car, and safety/autonomous technology.