Gov. Bill Haslam wants Tennessee to land new Toyota-Mazda plant

Gov. Bill Haslam wants Tennessee to land new Toyota-Mazda plant

August 8th, 2017 by Staff and Wire Reports in Breaking News

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam says he is making the case for Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. to build a new assembly plant in Tennessee.

But the Republican governor says Tennessee is far from alone in its efforts to land the $1.6 billion facility that could create up to 4,000 jobs.

"There will be a lot of people fighting hard for that plant, and we intend to be at the lead," Haslam said Tuesday.

Mazda and Toyota announced last week that the joint facility will have an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles, producing the Toyota Corolla sedan and a new Mazda crossover.

Tennessee already is home to General Motors, Nissan and Volkswagen plants, and the state is trying to woo other manufacturers to its Memphis Regional Megasite. With more than 919 auto suppliers in Tennessee, the state has been Business Facilities magazine's top state in automotive manufacturing strength for five of the last seven years,

Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander helped recruit Japanese automaker Nissan to Smyrna, Tenn., in the early 1980s and Nissan later located its North American headquarters in Franklin, Tenn., in 2008.

Japanese companies have already invested more than $16 billion in Tennessee, helping make the Volunteer State the No. 1 state for foreign direct investment two of the past three years, according to the IBM Global Location Trends report.

Chattanooga competed unsuccessfully more than a decade ago to recruit Toyota to its former Volunteer Army Ammunitions Plant site, but Toyota picked a site near Tupelo, Miss., instead.

But within a couple of years, Chattanooga landed Volkswagen's only North American auto assembly plant at the former munitions site and VW agreed in 2015 to nearly double its initial investment in Chattanooga.

This story was updated Aug. 8 at 10:10 p.m. with more information.