Toyota says it will scrap plans to build the Corolla compact car at a new factory under construction in Huntsville-annexed Limestone County. Instead, it will build a new, unspecified sport utility vehicle at the plant it's building with Mazda.
The company said Wednesday that the decision is being made in response to growing demand for SUVs and light trucks. For the first half of this year, Corolla sales are down 5.3 percent, to just under 153,000.
Toyota will continue to build Corollas at its factory in Blue Springs, Mississippi.
The new $1.6 billion Alabama plant is expected to start making vehicles in 2021. Mazda also plans to build a new yet-to-be-unveiled SUV there.
The Mazda Toyota plant and three of its announced suppliers are expected to employ more than 5,400 workers, including 4,000 at just Mazda Toyota.
Y-tec Keylex Toyotetsu Alabama, or YKTA, plans to invest $220 million to open a manufacturing facility in Huntsville-annexed Limestone that will create 650 jobs. YKTA is building a 750,000-square-foot facility on 42 acres north of the Mazda Toyota site. Production there is expected to start in the spring of 2021.
DaikyoNishikawa US announced will locate on the Mazda Toyota site and produce large plastic parts such as bumpers and instrumental panels at a $110 million facility staffed with 380 workers.
And Toyota Boshoku America is investing $55.9 million in a facility in Athens' Breeding North Industrial Park, where it will make seat systems for the Mazda Toyota plant. The company said it will hire 414 full-time employees at that site.