Reports: NC loses Toyota-Mazda car plant to Alabama

Posted January 9, 2018 6:17 p.m. EST
Updated January 10, 2018 9:52 a.m. EST

— North Carolina appears to have lost out on its latest bid for a vehicle manufacturing plant, with numerous media outlets reporting that Toyota and Mazda plan to build a $1.6 billion plant in Alabama.

An official announcement is expected Wednesday.

North Carolina was a finalist for the 4,000-employee plant, where Toyota plans to assemble the Corolla sedan, while Mazda said it will use the factory to produce new crossover vehicles for the U.S. market.

The plant is expected to open in 2021 and produce 300,000 vehicles a year.

In her Tuesday night State of the State address, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey did not mention the plant, but said it's her state's workers that draw corporate leaders from around the world.

"News of our economic success seems to be a daily occurrence," she said. "Your dedication, your commitment to hard work and our skilled workforce, companies choose Alabama because of your ability to work hard and be dependable."

North Carolina has tried for years to land an auto plant, creating four "mega-sites" ready to accommodate a large manufacturing operation and expanding state incentive funds to provide more money to lure "transformative projects." But all of the state's efforts have been in vain, with companies from Volvo to Mercedes to Hyundai picking other sites in the Southeast.

The companies were reportedly seeking $1 billion in incentives from state and local governments to land the plant.

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.

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.