ATHENS, AL (WAFF)- One of Japans preeminent automotive suppliers is coming to Athens and bringing hundreds of jobs in the process.
The Tier 1 supplier will be supporting the massive new Mazda Toyota plant thats under construction.
State and local officials and representatives of Toyota Boshoku America announced Wednesday at Athens City Hall that the company plans to invest over $50 million to open a manufacturing facility in Athens, creating around 400 jobs once the plant reaches full production.
The new Athens factory will produce seats for vehicles built at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. (MTMUS), a joint venture assembly plant the automakers are constructing in Huntsville-annexed Limestone County.
This is the beginning of a growing cluster of automotive suppliers associated with Mazda Toyota plant, said Governor Kay Ivey at the event.
Toyota Boshoku America one of the first suppliers to announce plans to construct facility to produce parts for Mazda Toyota. Over $50-million investment in Athens manufacturing facility & around 400 jobs
Toyota Boshoku is one of the first suppliers to announce plans for an Alabama facility to produce parts for MTMUS, which expects to assemble its first vehicle in 2021.
The initial phases of construction on 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.
@GovernorKayIvey: Alabama is building on it success & momentum! New manufacturing facility coming to Athens, creating 400 jobs. Supplier will support new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant. She attributes the milestone to the team in place at the state and local level @waff48 pic.twitter.com/fs87q8EEgw
Our site here in the city limits was very attractive to them because theyre going to be making seats for the vehicles so those seats are going to be sequenced into the assembly plant just in time. So they wanted to be close enough to be able to accomplish that but not be right on top of the plant, said Tom Hill, president of Limestone County Economic Development.
Dr. Shuhei Toyoda, chairman of Toyota Boshoku, said when they began their search for a new site to build their production facility, they 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, City of Athens and Limestone County to make this project a reality,” he said.
The Toyota Boshoku facility will be on 42 acres in the Breeding North Industrial Park on Sanderfer Road. The industrial park is south of U.S. 72 and west of U.S. 31. The company anticipates starting construction around May 1, 2019.
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, says economic development teams at the state and local levels have been working hard to facilitate the formation of the supply chain for MTMUS.
This is the first supplier in the automotive sector to locate in Athens so its important for Athens and Limestone County with the Mazda Toyota facility under construction, were going to see more opportunities like this, Canfield said.
The industrial site includes the current location of Jimmy Gill Park on Sanderfer Road near the Hine Street intersection. Mayor Marks said the company is assisting the City of Athens in relocating the park. The late Jimmy Gill was a longtime Athens City Council member and worked with his friend David Malone to establish a city park south of U.S. 72.
City and industrial officials met with Malone and Gills widow, Deborah, before agreeing to relocate the park. Both said the late Jimmy Gill would have supported new jobs as long as the city could relocate the park.
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, Kentucky, employs more than 11,000 people in 20 locations through the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
The companys U.S. manufacturing sites are in Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Kentucky.
Officials said the move by the company to expand to Athens is a testament to the strong workforce in North Alabama.
Its an exciting day for this community. This community is just thriving with economic development. Its a great day and great to have these jobs and good workforce development coming in. I think were looking for the future, said Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly.
There are so many people working behind the scenes. Its not just one person, its an army of people. Its day in, day out meeting with people and when you get it rolling, you have success, he added.
In terms of economic growth spurred by the project, Tom Hill says general rule is that there are two to three spin-off jobs created by each manufacturing job.
This is going to be 400 jobs so we can expect another 400-800 jobs in spin-off activity, he explained.
Secretary Canfield said Toyota Boshokus decision to locate in Athens will add momentum to efforts to further build a supply chain for MTMUS.
Alabama is blessed that we already have an established automotive sector so there are suppliers that are already embedded in Alabama which are competing for or have already entered into agreements with Mazda Toyota to provide supplies for them. But today is a great day because it is the very first in Limestone County and the City of Athens. I think youll have more opportunities down the road, he added.
A $50 million manufacturing facility will bring 400 new jobs to Athens in a ripple effect of the giant Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA plant under construction in Huntsville.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced Wednesday at Athens City Hall that Toyota Boshoku will build its supplier facility about 30 miles from the $1.6 billion MTMUS plant being built in eastern Limestone County.
When we talk about building on our successes and maintaining our momentum, this is how its done, Ivey said. We share with our companies our unparalleled workforce. We create a very positive business-friendly climate that encourages success and growth. We work with the companies that choose to be made in Alabama, that they will be excellent in their endeavors.
The Toyota Boshoku facility is the first announcement of indirect jobs to come to north Alabama as a result of the Mazda Toyota plant. Those indirect jobs are expected to be possibly more than twice as many as the 4,000 direct jobs coming to the MTMUS plant once its operating at full capacity.
Youre probably talking about 12,000 employees, maybe 15,000, Alabama Secretary of State Greg Canfield said Wednesday in an interview with AL.com.
The new Athens factory will produce seat systems for vehicles built at the MTMUS plant. The Toyota Boshoku facility will be on 42 acres in the Breeding North Industrial Park on Sanderfer Road. The industrial park is south of U.S. 72 and west of U.S. 31. The company anticipates starting construction around May 1, 2019.
The industrial site includes the current location of Jimmy Gill Park on Sanderfer Road near the Hine Street intersection. Marks said the company is assisting the city of Athens in relocating the park with the blessing of the Gill family.
According to the Toyota Boshoku America website, the company develops and manufactures automotive interior products, filters, powertrain components and fabric goods and Toyota Boshoku worldwide has about 41,409 employees. The companys U.S. manufacturing sites are in Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Kentucky.
Joining Ivey at the announcement was Shuhei Toyoda, chair of Toyota Boshoku, as well as Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, state Sen. Arthur Orr and Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks.
Athens attracting one of the first Tier 1 suppliers for MTMUS speaks to our citys attractiveness as a community and our great working relationship with several entities on industrial development, Marks said in a statement. 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.
Ivey highlighted that the Toyota Boshoku facility is the first of whats expected to be a wave of new industry coming to north Alabama, an extra infusion of growth on top of the MTMUS plant.
This is only the beginning of a growing cluster of automotive suppliers with Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, Ivey said.
Canfield said state officials are working to secure more suppliers for north Alabama. Toyota Boshoku is the first formal announcement of a new supplier to Alabama, Canfield said, while some suppliers already in Alabama are pursuing deals with MTMUS.
We are currently working with Mazda Toyota on their supply chain strategies so there are going to be other announcements that will follow, Canfield said. There are existing suppliers that are already embedded in the state who are competing for and possibly being awarded other contracts.
Ultimately, Canfield said the indirect jobs associated with the MTMUS plant could be between 8,000 and 12,000 additional jobs — a ripple effect expected to become an economic wave for the Huntsville area.
Once we get up and operational with 4,000 direct employees at the (original equipment manufacturer) plant, at that time, we will probably see two to three times the number of employees in the automotive supply chain, Canfield said.
Were going to do everything we can to have as many of them in Alabama. We are fully aware and expect that well see some activity in Tennessee as well as Mississippi.
When we began our search for a new site to build our production facility, we looked at many locations,” Toyoda said in a statement. “After an extensive search, we determined that Athens Alabama 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.