Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Shuhei Toyoda of Toyota Boshoku hold up the Alabama state seal as they announce plans for a $50 million manufacturing plant in Athens.
(Alabama Department of Commerce photo)
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey joined representatives of Toyota Boshoku America and local leaders in Limestone County April 10 to announce that the global automotive supplier plans to invest more than $50 million to open a manufacturing facility in Athens, creating a total of around 400 jobs once full production is reached.
The new Alabama factory will produce seat systems for vehicles built at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc. (MTMUS), a joint venture assembly plant the automakers are constructing about 30 miles away in Huntsville.
Toyota Boshoku is one of the first suppliers to announce plans for an Alabama facility to produce parts for MTMUS, which is expected to assemble its first vehicle in 2021.
"Toyota Boshoku is a premier manufacturer of automotive interior systems and a welcome addition to Alabama's growing constellation of world-class auto suppliers," Ivey said. "We look forward to seeing the company put down roots in Athens and know that it will find all the ingredients for success in Sweet Home Alabama."
The company's plans were outlined today at a formal announcement at Athens City Hall.
"When we began our search for a new site to build our production facility, we looked at many locations. After an extensive search, we determined that Athens, Ala., is the perfect fit. We are grateful for the assistance from the state of Alabama, the city of Athens and Limestone County to make this project a reality," said Shuhei Toyoda of Toyota Boshoku.
The new facility will be located in the Breeding North Industrial Park in Athens. The company is expecting to start construction around May 1.
The initial phases of construction on the MTMUS began in November 2018 at a 2,500-acre site in Limestone County. The automakers plan to invest $1.6 billion in the Alabama facility, where 4,000 workers will produce 300,000 vehicles annually.
"Alabama's economic development team has been working hard to facilitate the formation of the supply chain for MTMUS, and Toyota Boshoku's decision to locate in Athens will add momentum to our efforts," said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. "We expect to develop a long-lasting partnership with this outstanding company as it creates well-paying jobs in Alabama."
Limestone County officials welcomed Toyota Boshoku's investment at the Athens site.
"Athens attracting one of the first Tier 1 suppliers for MTMUS speaks to our city's attractiveness as a community and our great working relationship with several entities on industrial development," Mayor Ronnie Marks said.
"From the state of Alabama to our Limestone County Economic Development Association and our other partners, we work well together to help industries invest in our community and provide jobs for our citizens. Athens appreciates Toyota Boshoku being the latest to invest in our city."
"We would like to welcome Toyota Boshoku America to Limestone County," added Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly. "This over $50 million investment that will bring around 400 new jobs is a testament to the strong workforce in our region that has earned global recognition."
Toyota Boshoku Corp., a member of the Toyota group of companies, develops and manufactures automotive interior systems and other components. Its founding company, Toyoda Boshoku, was established by the founder of Toyota group, Sakichi Toyoda, in 1918.
Today, Toyota Boshoku has extensive manufacturing operations in Japan and other parts of Asia, as well as Europe and the Americas. Toyota Boshoku America, based in Erlanger, Ky., employs more than 11,000 people in 20 locations through the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
The company's U.S. manufacturing sites are in Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Kentucky.