Toyota to add 450 workers with $288M Alabama engine plant expansion

Toyota to add 450 workers with $288M Alabama engine plant expansion
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama plans to increase its annual capacity to 900,000 engines by the end of 2021. (contributed)

Toyota announced plans today to install two new engine lines at its Alabama manufacturing facility through a $288 million expansion project that will create 450 jobs in Huntsville.

Toyota said the investment will boost annual engine capacity at the Huntsville facility from 670,000 to 900,000 by the end of 2021. It will also increase product flexibility and better accommodate market demands.

The largest in a series of growth projects at the Alabama facility will add new 4-cylinder and V6 engine lines, along with a building expansion, the automaker announced today.

“Toyota’s major new investment in its Alabama engine factory is a testament to the solid partnership we have formed with the automaker and to the high-caliber workforce it has found in the Huntsville area,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.

Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield joined Toyota officials and community leaders at an announcement event at the Huntsville engine factory, where the company employs more than 1,400 workers.

“It is because of our workforce and statewide partnerships that Toyota has continued to grow and prosper in Alabama,” said David Fernandes, president of Toyota Alabama. “The new engine lines will allow us to respond quicker to customer needs and strengthen our competitive edge in the industry.”

Mike Clark, Toyota Alabama’s general manager of manufacturing, speaks at the expansion announcement at the Huntsville engine plant. (contributed)


Production boom

The Alabama plant launched engine production in 2003 and has undergone four expansions since then. In September 2018, Toyota completed a $106 million expansion project to open a new 4-cylinder engine line, creating 50 jobs.

“Toyota has long been a pillar in our booming automotive industry, with its Huntsville engine plant operating in near-constant expansion mode since it launched production,” Canfield said.

“Over the years, we have developed a special relationship with this world-class automaker and, working together, we will build a brilliant future right here in Alabama.”

The Huntsville plant is among Toyota’s largest engine facilities globally, producing more than more than 630,000 engines in 2018 for a range of vehicles. This breaks down to about 2,600 each day.

It’s the only Toyota plant in the world to build 4-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines under one roof. Last year, it produced its 6 millionth Alabama-built engine.

“Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama has been the backbone of Huntsville’s advanced manufacturing economy for 18 years,” Mayor Tommy Battle said. “This latest investment, the company’s seventh in Huntsville, signals Toyota’s confidence in our workforce and its commitment to continued investment in this facility – more than $1.2 billion to date.”

Toyota Alabama President David Fernandes checks out production on the assembly line at the automaker’s Huntsville plant, where it produced about 630,000 engines in 2018. (contributed)


More investments

Along with the Huntsville expansion, Toyota announced new investments totaling nearly $750 million at other facilities across the U.S.

“These latest investments represent even more examples of our long-term commitment to build where we sell,” said Jim Lentz, CEO for Toyota Motor North America. “By boosting our U.S. manufacturing footprint, we can better serve our customers and dealers and position our manufacturing plants for future success with more domestic capacity.”

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing

Meanwhile, Toyota is teaming with Mazda to build a $1.6 billion joint venture assembly plant just miles away in another Huntsville location. Production, split evenly between the partners, is expected to begin in 2021.

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA, as the venture is known, will employ 4,000 workers at full production.

The Alabama Department of Commerce and AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency, have joined area governments and organizations to support the project, which was announced in January 2018.

Read a narrative about the “Project New World” recruitment.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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