Huntsville, AL. Alabama and Huntsville area leaders joined Toyota (NYSE:TM) officials today for a celebration marking the production of Toyota's first V8 engines made outside of Japan.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Inc represents an investment of $220 million and currently employs about 300 people who will produce 120,000 engines annually for the Tundra pick-up truck made in Indiana. Employment will grow to about 350 when the plant is at full production.
"This is an historic event not only for Toyota and the team members at this plant, but it's an historic event for the state of Alabama, as well," said Alabama Governor Bob Riley. "Toyota, like so many of our other good corporate citizens, has witnessed firsthand the work ethic and skills of the citizens of Alabama, and we, in turn, have witnessed Toyota's commitment to excellence."
Toyota Motor Corporation Executive Vice President Kosuke Shiramizu, who has overseen the project since leading the site selection team, thanked team members for their talent and work ethic and emphasized the importance of the Alabama plant to Toyota's North American growth.
"Our engines are known for performance, reliability and durability. But the competition for Tundra is very strong," he said. "This Alabama-made engine will be a key to our success in the truck market."
Haruaki Hoshino, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, congratulated team members and thanked the state and local community for its support.
"I believe we have brought together the best group of team members in the world, and they are from Alabama," he said. "We are grateful for the job training provided by the state and for the tremendous support in several areas from the Huntsville/Madison County community.
"Together, our team members and the community have helped TMMAL achieve its motto -- "Grow To Achieve The Dream," Hoshino added.
Toyota currently has 10 vehicle manufacturing and parts facilities in North America, and is building three more in Baja California, Mexico; San Antonio, Texas; and Jackson, Tenn.
By 2006, Toyota will have capacity to build 1.65 million cars and trucks a year and 1.16 million engines in North America. Toyota currently employs some 34,000 people throughout North America. The company's direct investment is nearly $14 billion with annual parts, materials, goods and services purchased from North American suppliers totaling nearly $20 billion. Toyota's North American-produced vehicles include the Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Matrix, Sienna, Solara, Sequoia, Tacoma and Tundra, and Voltz. Beginning in the fall of 2003, the Lexus RX 330 will be produced at the automaker's plant in Canada.