Car Industry

Mazda, Toyota break ground on new Alabama joint-venture plant

The plant will build the 2020 Corolla, as well as a yet-unannounced Mazda SUV.

Toyota

The last we heard about Mazda and Toyota building a joint-venture factory was in January, when the news was first announced. Now, less than a year later, they've already broken ground.

Mazda and Toyota announced Friday that the two automakers have broken ground on a $1.6 billion assembly plant in Huntsville, Alabama. When it's up and running, which is slated for 2021, the plant will be capable of 300,000 vehicles a year and will create some 4,000 jobs.

"We are proud to be here with Toyota, with whom we share the bond of pride in manufacturing," said Kiyotaka Shobuda, Mazda's senior managing executive officer, in a statement. "We are proud to be breaking ground on a new 'home' here in Huntsville."

Until this week, we knew Toyota had plans to build a Corolla in Huntsville, we just didn't know which one.

Toyota

When it comes online, the joint-venture plant will start off building the 12th-generation Toyota Corolla, which was recently announced. It will also be responsible for building a new Mazda crossover that has yet to be announced. Considering Mazda already has two-row crossovers like the CX-3 and CX-5, in addition to a three-row crossover like the CX-9, it's anybody's guess as to what will occupy this position.

To commemorate the groundbreaking, Mazda and Toyota also unveiled a big donation. The two automakers will donate $750,000 to support STEM-related programs in Alabama. $500,000 will go to the Huntsville Madison County Chamber Foundation, and it'll help create a new career exploration online platform that will expose students to manufacturing careers. The remaining $250,000 will be split between six school districts to boost interest in technical programs that correspond with manufacturing.

The facility in Huntsville will be Mazda's first factory in the US, not counting the brief period of time where it had shared production with Ford. Toyota already has a facility in Huntsville, responsible for building V6 and V8 engines for its SUVs and trucks.

Toyota: Stay up to date on all things Toyota-related.

Mazda: If you prefer a bit more zoom-zoom, we've got you covered.