Blue Springs, Miss. – Governor Haley Barbour announced late last week the Toyota Motor Corporation is resuming preparations to begin production at its north Mississippi plant next year.
The company plans to produce the Toyota Corolla, the best-selling car of all time, at the Blue Springs plant.
“Toyota is moving forward to equip and begin production at its Mississippi plant. We’re delighted, but not surprised,” Governor Barbour said. “We’ve had good reason to keep our faith in them.
“We eagerly look forward to the opening of the Blue Springs plant in 2011 and are proud that the Toyota Corolla, one of the best-selling vehicles of all time, will be manufactured here in Mississippi.”
“We sincerely appreciate the patience and understanding shown by Governor Barbour and the people of Mississippi,” said Yoshimi Inaba, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor North America.
“With the economic downturn, we had a commitment to our team members and communities worldwide to make sure all of our existing plants were stable. With the return of stability to our existing operations in North America, it is time to fulfill Toyota’s promise in Mississippi.”
Toyota plans to begin production at the Blue Springs facility in the fall of 2011. When complete, the facility will employ approximately 2,000 individuals.
Toyota first announced its plans to build its 10th U.S. productionfacility at the 1,700-acre site in Blue Springs, near Tupelo, Miss., in February 2007 with production to begin in 2010. The State of Mississippi committed approximately $294 million to the project to assist with site preparation, infrastructure and training.
“Today’s announcement is a validation of our strong partnership with Toyota, and we look forward to the 2,000 jobs the Blue Springs plant will create, as well as a like or greater number of supplier jobs,” said Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.
Toyota broke ground on the facility in April 2007 and completed building construction in the spring of 2009. In December 2008, company officials announced a delay in their plans to begin production at the facility but stated their clear intent to move forward with the plant when market conditions improved.
Toyota continued to pay more than $10 million on state-issued bonds to fund road construction and extend water and sewer systems to the site.
The corporation also made its initial annual $5 million payment to the Tupelo-based CREATE Foundation for local education, which was the first payment in a 10-year commitment to the organization.