2,000 jobs created, and 1,700 spots waiting to be filled.
In 2018 we first heard rumors that Mazda and Toyota were working on a merger. As it turned out, Toyota only purchased a small stake in Mazda, and the two companies started working together on a new factory in Alabama.
It's now widely known that the factory will produce the all-new Toyota Corolla Cross, which is part of this joint venture with Mazda. The Mazda product built on the same assembly line has not made its debut yet, but we don't expect it to be wildly different from the Corolla Cross. The original rumor suggested a hot Mazda 2, but since crossovers are so popular right now, producing something similar to the Corolla Cross makes financial sense.
The joint venture is known as Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM), and the Alabama factory went live this week. Over 2,000 employees were on-site to celebrate the start of production. The plant will continue to hire new employees in preparation for the unknown Mazda model.
"This is the moment MTM and our North Alabama community have waited for since we broke ground in November 2018," said Mark Brazeal, vice president of administration. "We are excited to see Corolla Cross in dealerships across the US."
The Alabama plant can produce 300,000 vehicles annually. Production will be split between the two cars evenly. We know the Mazda has to be unveiled shortly because MTM is currently adding 1,700 employees to the existing workforce. When running at total capacity, it will provide jobs to 4,000 people.
The original investment between the two companies was worth $1.6 billion, though this increased to $2.311 billion after an additional $830 million investment in the latest cutting-edge technology to help with the manufacturing process was announced.
"I'm so proud of our team members, and I'm excited to continue our hiring plan to add to our MTM family," said Janette Hostettler, vice president of production. "Our team members exhibit a true commitment to safety and quality, and it is a big day for them to watch the Corolla Cross drive off our line ready to be shipped."
This collaboration will be massive for Mazda in particular. Mazda sales are on the rise, but if you drill down into the figures, you'll see that SUVs and crossovers like the CX-30 are responsible for the most significant chunk of sales. With an all-new crossover in the mix, Mazda might break through the 35,000 annual sales barrier.