Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda have reportedly chosen Alabama as the site of a new $1.6 billion joint-venture auto manufacturing plant, a person briefed on the decision said Tuesday.
The plant will employ about 4,000 people and will be built in the Huntsville area in Limestone County, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because the location hasn't been officially announced. Officials in Alabama are expected to hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce the plant site.
Alabama and North Carolina apparently were finalists for the factory, which is expected to begin operating in 2021. It will be able to build 300,000 vehicles per year and will produce the Toyota Corolla compact car for North America and a new small SUV from Mazda, the companies have said.
Toyota and Mazda are forming a capital alliance and splitting the cost for the plant equally.
After reassessing the market, Toyota Motor Corp. has changed its plan to make Corollas at a plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, now under construction, and instead will produce Tacoma pickups there, Toyota has said.
President Donald Trump had criticized Toyota for taking auto production and jobs to Mexico. With the investment, both automakers hope to prove their good American corporate citizenship and appease the Trump administration's concerns about jobs moving overseas.
But during the summer, Toyota President Akio Toyoda denied that Trump's views influenced his decision.