By on July 10, 2019

Toyota Motor Corp announced on Wednesday it would be building a new sport utility vehicle at its $1.6 billion joint venture assembly plant in Alabama, rather than the Corolla. This brings its strategy in line with Mazda, which announced it would also be building an SUV at the facility earlier this year.

Officially, Toyota said the change was due to “changing market demands and a growing consumer appetite for light trucks and SUVs,” while slipping in a mention of how well the RAV4 has been selling for good measure. 

They’ve earned some bragging rights, however. The RAV4 cleared 427,168 U.S. deliveries last year, a sizable increase over 2017’s 407,594 units and a massive leap over 2016’s 352,139. That also ought to clear up why they’ve decided to stick with utilities and crossovers.

Toyota reported that construction remains on schedule and hiring has already begun. The factory is estimated to furnish up to 4,000 new jobs in the region and increase the company’s capacity by 300,000 vehicles annually.

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. aims to commence production of the new (and yet-to-be announced) model in 2021. Nothing has been confirmed but platform sharing with Mazda is a given. Meanwhile, Corolla assembly will continue in Blue Springs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi.

 

[Image: Toyota]

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18 Comments on “Toyota Building New SUV in Alabama, Not the Corolla...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    A new SUV? I hope it’s not the next gen 4Runner that should stay in Japan, but if it’s a honest to god compact SUV color me excited, I’m so tired of crossovers it’s about time we get some new SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Toyota specifically said “sport utility” but automakers aren’t keen to distinguish between SUVs and crossovers anymore. Keep those fingers cross(over)ed.

  • avatar
    craiger

    Maybe it’s a sub-compact pickup

    /sarc off

  • avatar
    Zipster

    The recent enactment of new laws in Alabama have prompted the call for consumer boycotts of the state. Toyota is obviously not concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      You thought that Toyota who just moved it’s US headquarters from California to Texas would be concerned with Alabama?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      It’s not like they can move the factory.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Judging from Chick-Fil-a that some people decided to boycott for god knows what, boycotts tend to have the opposite effect intended. I’d say Toyota is riding the wave but realistically Toyota is smart enough to know that some dumb boycott held by people that mostly can’t afford their products new won’t make a difference in their vehicles success.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        The Chick-Fil-A controversy has to do with their homophobic business practices, similar to the issues with Hobby Lobby, the national crafts chain. And these political issues were important enough to Alabama that they put together attractive promotions from their state government travel office to attempt to draw golfers to their several golf links. I recently got a heads-up for a future convention in Missouri, not asking to help choose a location but only did I expect to attend. I’m not likely to, much as I’d like to see my friends again in two years. The issue is that Missouri is one of the recent states to enact strict laws that go against what I regard as personal freedom. This applies to both states and businesses who take away personal family freedoms that have been settled law for many years on a federal level. As for Toyota, I bought a new one 18 months ago that, as it happens, was assembled in Japan. Leaving Texas and Kentucky out of the equation, Toyota worldwide has had a good reputation with the LGBTQ community for a while, featuring same-sex couples in some of their advertising going back 25 years and obviously employing thousands of Americans in their local assembly plants.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          What exactly are these “homophobic business practices”?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            If I remember correctly from my Georgia days they don’t hire “out” Gays and they were actively against Gay marriage. It’s no secret where Dan Cathy and Chick fil a stand on the issues and they are ultra-conservative

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            This comment isn’t against anyone here clearly but,

            I don’t remember ever being asked my sexuality when applying for any job in my life, if I was hiring someone and they were actively talking about their sexuality in an interview I would be hesitant about hiring them. No matter their preference.
            And I’ve never understood how being personally pro straight marriage makes one homophobic. Doesn’t mean Cathy was scared of gays, just means his personal opinion, was exactly what it sounds like, a personal opinion. Clearly that boycott didn’t work, reason prevailed.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Ok, I was just trying to help you out with your question. Maybe I should have said “obviously” Gay instead of “out” Gay

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            True, which is a whole different can of worms

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Charlottesville, Virginia sees itself as the seat of ‘the resistance.’ The only thing that keeps me from eating at the Chick-Fil-As when I’m there is the massive lines of cars containing people waiting to enjoy their magnificent food that encircle their locations. Where I live now, surrounded by military bases, the Chick-Fil-As aren’t as overwhelmed as they are in The City of Hate. It’s nice, as I can now pop in for a meal at my convenience. I can’t recommend it enough. Their people are the happiest and give the best service. It is an island of civility in a state with too many Democrats.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    Is it my eyes or are these two RHD?

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    More likely due to potential issues with tariff. It is cheaper to import a Corolla and local build the SUV than the other way around.

    Them “buy American” crowd are more likely to buy SUVs than a Corolla anyways.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    It will be interesting to see how much product cross pollination occurs between Toyota and Mazda at this facility when it opens.


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