SA loses out on new Toyota-Mazda factory, AP source says

Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda on Wednesday announced plans to build a huge $1.6 billion joint-venture plant in Alabama that will eventually employ about 4,000 people. "NO WAY!" Trump tweeted. on January 5, 2017.

The new plant -in a state Trump won by 28 points in 2016 - could be a political boost to the Republican president, who has urged automakers to build plants in the United States and add jobs. And Toyota has an engine plant in the Huntsville area, near where it is planning to put the new facility. Mazda does not now have any US factories.

The State of Alabama is the fifth largest producer of cars and light trucks nationally with a strong automotive manufacturing presence including Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville, where Toyota employs 1,400 team members. US new vehicle sales fell 2 percent in 2017, after hitting an all-time record high in 2016, and are expected to fall further in 2018.

In November, it was reported that the automakers had narrowed down the candidates to Alabama and North Carolina.

It's hard to predict auto sales in three years but, at present, Toyota may not need the factory for Corolla production.

A year ago, President-elect Trump criticized Toyota and threatened hefty tariffs against the Japanese automaker if it built its Corolla sedan for the US market in Mexico. "NO WAY! Build plant in US or pay big border tax", Trump posted on Twitter in early 2017.

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Toyota and Mazda initially announced plans for a new US factory in August. Mazda plans to build new crossover SUVs at the plant. "A great investment in American manufacturing!" Last year, Toyota and Mazda agreed to co-develop electric vehicles, connected-car systems, and safety technologies.

A decision by Toyota and Mazda to build a joint factory in Alabama instead of rumored rival North Carolina is another miss for one of the few Southeast states never to land a modern carmaker.

The two firms past year formed a capital alliance and announced a plan to build the factory for 1.6 billion dollars in the United States by 2021.

"Their decision to locate this new facility in Huntsville is a testament to the talented workforce in our state". Southern U.S. states have the advantage of good transportation infrastructure, business-friendly regulators and generally anti-union politicians.

Alabama started on the road to becoming an auto manufacturing hub in 1993 when Mercedes chose it as the location for a manufacturing plant after the state offered a then-eye popping $250 million incentive package. It produces most of the cars and trucks it sells in the those USA plants and exports some of those cars to other markets.

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