Toyota Expects Decision in Early 2018 on State Where 4,000-job Venture With Mazda Lands

Toyota Motor Corp. is expected to decide early next year where it will build a new plant in the U.S. with Mazda Motor Corp., according to a report by Reuters.The $1.6 billion plant will employ 4,000 people in a facility that will be jointly operated by the two Japanese automakers. It is one of the most sought-after economic development projects announced in 2017 and incentives needed to attract the assembly plant could near $1 billion.In an interview with Reuters, Toyota North American CEO James Lentz said more than one state remains in the running. Reports out of North Carolina and Alabama indicate those states are the frontrunners. In November, Bloomberg cited anonymous sources in identifying the two Southern states.Contacted by The News, Toyota said: "... We continue to meet with key state and economic development leaders. We anticipate selecting a site in early 2018. We remain focused on finding the best possible site that meets our joint criteria for the future plant and do not wish to fuel any speculation. Until then, we are not in a position to discuss who is or isn't in the running for the site."More than a dozen states -- including Texas -- initially were interested in landing the shared factory that's expected to build an SUV for Mazda and Corollas for Toyota. Texas already has a strong Toyota presence with a truck plant and supplier network in San Antonio and the automaker's new North American headquarters in Plano.Toyota also is building a $1 billion factory in Guanajuato, Mexico that will build Tacoma pickup trucks, freeing up the San Antonio plant to build more of the profitable Tundra large pickups.The new factory is part of Toyota's realignment of its production and supply chain in North America. That strategy for North America could be disrupted if negotiations among the United States, Mexico and Canada to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement fail, and U.S. President Donald Trump decides to exit the trade pact."I think the government will make the right decision," Lentz told Reuters. "They will tweak, rather than throw out" the existing agreement that allows tariff-free trade in vehicles and components.  Continue reading...

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