Preparations are already underway for the factory that Toyota and Mazda will open together in 2021. The automakers will decide on a location for the new U.S. assembly plant by the first quarter of 2018, according to Reuters.
Rumor has it that Toyota and Mazda had narrowed down the list of contenders to Alabama and North Carolina as of last month. Although the companies haven’t publicly announced potential locations, Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz told Reuters that no final decision has been made. He added the companies are considering more than one state at this time.
Toyota will build the Corolla at the new facility, while Mazda will make crossovers. Expected to arrive in 2021, a new Mazda crossover to be built at the plant could become the brand’s best-seller, says company CEO Masamichi Kogai.
Toyota and Mazda will share the cost of the new plant, expected to run around $1.6 billion. The plant will produce around 300,000 vehicles a year, creating as many as 4,000 new jobs along the way. In addition to building a new factory, the two automakers will work together on electric vehicle technologies and connected-car solutions, including an improved infotainment system.
If the U.S. exits the North American Free Trade Agreement, Toyota may have to alter its production strategy for the region, Reuters points out. But it seems like Toyota is optimistic about a resolution. “I think the government will make the right decision, Lentz said. “They will tweak, rather than throw out” the current agreement.