Toyota Building New SUV in Alabama, Not the Corolla
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.