The Alabama Department of Commerce shows 150 of the large automotive suppliers operate in the state, providing the logistical strength that Kristin Dziczek, a researcher at the Center for Automotive Research in MI, said helped land the plant.
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. But the automakers settled on Alabama following negotiations with local government.
The site for the new plant in Huntsville sits just 14 miles from Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, which produces four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines for several Toyota models. The state produced nine percent of the cars made in the USA, the center said.
Folsom who helped land Mercedes in Tuscaloosa County believes the Toyota-Mazda deal will add even more growth to Alabama's booming auto manufacturing industry which so far has produced almost 60,000 jobs and millions of vehicles. This exciting investment in North Alabama not only comes with 4,000 new direct jobs, but also an economic impact that will be felt across the state for many years to come.
Alabama is the fifth largest producer of cars and light trucks nationally and stands at the center of the growing Southeastern automotive region with a strong automotive presence including Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville.
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.
Trump praised the joint venture announcement, saying in August on Twitter: "Toyota & Mazda to build a new $1.6B plant here in the United States of America and create 4K new American jobs".
The decision - a boon for President Donald Trump's drive to bring investment and jobs to the country - was made based on the state's efficient logistics network and concentration of auto parts makers, among other factors.
Toyota and Mazda also plan to work together on various advanced auto technology, such as electric vehicles, safety features and connected cars, as well as products that they could supply each other, they said.
There will be two production lines, which are expected to have an annual capacity of some 300,000 units.
USA states covet auto assembly plants because they typically pay above-average wages and spin off jobs at suppliers and service companies.
Mazda began selling vehicles in North America 50 years ago, this year, with the establishment of affiliate companies in Canada (Mazda Canada, Inc.) in 1968, in the United States (Mazda Motor of America, d/b/a Mazda North American Operations) in 1970, and in Mexico (Mazda Motor de Mexico) in 2006. These states generally have good transportation infrastructure, business-friendly regulators and anti-union politicians.