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Toyota-Mazda pick ‘sweet home Alabama’ over NC for $1.6B plant

Workers assemble engines at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Huntsville, Alabama. North Carolina has lost out to Alabama on landing the much sought-after Toyota-Mazda joint auto manufacturing plant, which would have brought 4,000 jobs to the state and invested $1.6 billion.
Workers assemble engines at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Huntsville, Alabama. North Carolina has lost out to Alabama on landing the much sought-after Toyota-Mazda joint auto manufacturing plant, which would have brought 4,000 jobs to the state and invested $1.6 billion.

Alabama’s governor made it official on Wednesday: The southern state has won the competition to snag a massive Toyota-Mazda manufacturing plant, beating out North Carolina.

Word that North Carolina had lost out and that Alabama was the likely victor was first reported by The News & Observer on Tuesday afternoon.

North Carolina has been beefing up its auto manufacturing for years but has not been able to land a major auto manufacturer. When Toyota-Mazda announced the joint venture and its plans to locate the plant in the U.S., state officials made a huge push for the project, which is expected to eventually employ 4,000 people and generate a $1.6 billion investment.

The state had been promoting a nearly 2,000-acre site in Randolph County near Greensboro, one of four megasites it has been prepping to lure a major industry.

But Alabama had history and a parts supply chain on its side. The state got its first auto plant, Mercedes-Benz, 25 years ago. It has since become the home of Honda and Hyundai plants as well. And Toyota has an engine plant in the Huntsville area, near where it is planning to put the new facility.

The news website AL.com reports that there are 57,000 Alabama residents employed in the industry, with more than 160 companies comprising the supplier chain.

The joint venture will receive roughly $380 million in incentives from the state of Alabama, including a jobs credit of $90.6 million and an investment credit of $210 million over 10 years.

The public announcement was made by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in Montgomery, who called it a great day for Alabama, and welcomed Toyota and Mazda officials to “sweet home Alabama.”

She said the jobs would pay an average annual salary of $50,000.

Alabama’s Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield called the project, which was dubbed “New World,” transformational and said “these are the kinds of projects that would win you a national championship, if there was such a thing in economic development.”

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO

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