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Japanese automakers announced Friday a $1.6 billion joint-partnership to build a manufacturing plant that will bring 4,000 new jobs to the U.S. The location of the plant is unknown, but the Associated Press reports it is likely to be in the south near the rest of the automaker’s U.S.-based manufacturing spots.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff responded to the announcement with anticipation for the economic boost it would bring to the manufacturing sector of the city.
“Toyota is an important asset to our community, and we are seeking consideration as a location for the plant announced today,” Mayor Nirenberg stated. “The automotive manufacturing industry has long been targeted by local economic development officials. We’ve built a decades-long relationship with Japan and have an experienced workforce. We know the competition to win the plant will be fierce. Still, this team has been successful before, and we look forward to the challenge.”
In a 50-50 cost split, the automakers will complete the plant in 2021 with Toyota planning to build North America’s Corollas there, while Mazda will focus on crossover models. A Toyota press release outlines the details of the agreement and states that the capital alliance arrangement “preserves independence and equality for both companies.” It will further “deepen collaboration and achieve sustainable growth through their partnership, rising to face and overcome these pressing challenges.”
After San Antonio beat out locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and other Texas cities in 2002, Toyota established a $1.2 billion manufacturing plant in San Antonio and began producing its Tundra trucks here in 2006. All U.S. Tundra manufacturing moved to the San Antonio facility in 2008, and Tacoma production began here a year later.
“Bexar County and the City of San Antonio will work with the State of Texas and other economic development partners in a unified effort,” Judge Wolff stated. “Our community is very proud of our current Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas operation, the on-site supplier park and the nearly 7,000 men and women who build the highest-quality Toyota Tundras and Tacomas in the world. Toyota and Mazda are not going to find a better site than ours.”
During the first wave of Japanese automakers’ investment in the U.S. in the mid-1980s, Japanese-brand automakers provided fewer than 10,000 direct U.S. jobs, according to the Japanese Automakers Member Association USA General Director Manny Manriquez.
Currently, these companies provide more than eight times as many jobs, for a total of nearly 88,000 direct U.S. jobs.
Such jobs are considered high-quality employment opportunities, and for each manufacturing and research and development job created by the automakers, there are many others – from steelworkers to retail store employees, logistics providers to vehicle dealership associates.
“The greatest fruit of our partnership with Mazda is that we have found a new partner who truly loves cars,” Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, stated in a company press release. “It has also sparked Toyota’s competitive spirit, increasing our sense of not wanting to be bested by Mazda.
“This is a partnership in which those who are passionate about cars will work together to make ever-better cars. It is also the realization of our desire to never let cars become commodities.”
The Associated Press report also predicted that since the combined plant will build the Corolla models, it likely will be near Toyota’s current Corolla plant in Mississippi to be close to parts supply companies.