August 2020 — before ever opening its doors — Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) announced that it would increase its investment in its North Alabama manufacturing facility. The additional $830 million ensures the automotive plant, jointly owned and operated by Mazda Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, will incorporate the most cutting-edge manufacturing technologies in its production lines. The funding will also provide enhanced training to the facility’s anticipated 4,000-member workforce.
“It’s a reaffirmation of support from both Toyota and Mazda in this project and its success,” says Toni Eberhart, corporate communications specialist at MTM. “We want to ensure that we have the most innovative, quality equipment represented on the two production lines and that the project has everything it needs for a successful start of production.”
The additional investment brings total funding for the plant to $2.3 billion, up from the $1.6 billion announced at the 2018 groundbreaking ceremony. The 3.7 million-square-foot facility will have a production capacity of 300,000 vehicles annually, split evenly between the Mazda and Toyota product lines. Toyota’s production of a small SUV is scheduled to start in late 2021, with Mazda’s production of a crossover vehicle scheduled to launch a few months later, in 2022.
Both products are new to the market and the models have yet to be announced. That’s part of the excitement fueling the MTM project, says Eberhart. “It’s a brand-new plant with brand new production lines, brand new team members, and brand-new vehicles. And it’s a brand-new partnership.”
Began in 2017
The two Japanese car manufacturers signed an agreement in 2017 to enter a business and capital alliance, further strengthening their 2015 commitment to form a long-term partnership. Specifically, they agreed to establish a joint venture to produce vehicles in the U.S.
Eberhart says the two companies are already working hard to fulfill that commitment and are learning a lot from each other. “That’s what Mazda Toyota Manufacturing has been working on and preparing since we first made the announcement that we would be located in Huntsville. It’s truly two companies coming together to do something innovative. Such a dynamic partnership is very rare.”
“We appreciate the strong ongoing support from our state and local partners as we work toward the start of production next year, and we look forward to developing our workforce and serving the North Alabama community for many years to come,” said Mark Brazeal, vice president of administration at MTM.