Toyota, as part of its move into producing more electric vehicles, announced today that it will invest $222 million at its Huntsville engine plant to build a new four-cylinder production line with the capacity to produce engines for both combustion and hybrid electric powertrains.
As part of the project, the Huntsville facility will expand by 114,000 square feet, marking the plant’s sixth building expansion since 2003, according to a statement from the company. Toyota Alabama has the capacity to build 900,000 engines annually and represents a nearly $1.5 billion investment, the company says.
The Huntsville project is by far the largest investment among the $383 million Toyota announced Tuesday that it will spend on four of its U.S. manufacturing plants – Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee – as part of the company’s commitment to vehicle electrification.
Toyota Alabama President Jason Puckett said the company was not announcing any possible increase in the number of jobs at the Huntsville plant, which employs about 1,800 people. Puckett also said it has not been determined if the investment will result in a new engine line or will replace a current engine line.
Production of the new four-cylinder engines is expected to begin in the fall of 2023.
“Toyota customers want vehicles that are fuel-efficient and electrified,” said Norm Bafunno, senior vice president, Unit Manufacturing and Engineering, Toyota. “These investments allow us to meet customer needs and quickly respond to an evolving market. We are committed to investing in the U.S., and our teams are ready to take on this new challenge.”
“It’s our dedicated workforce that continues to drive Toyota Alabama forward,” Puckett said. “Our team members’ commitment to building world-class engines is why Toyota has invested in our plant eight times, and why we continue to play a vital role Toyota’s electrified future.”
Alabama Governor, Kay Ivey said in a statement that “Toyota has been a great partner for Alabama, and its expansion projects at the Huntsville engine plant have always played an important role in the world-class automaker’s growth plans … This significant new investment in Alabama will once again help power Toyota’s strategic efforts to prepare for the future in a fast-changing industry.”
Huntsville area leaders also applauded the announcement.
“Many people often ask what is the engine that drives Huntsville? I proudly tell them it is companies like Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama that drive Huntsville’s economy,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle stated in the prepared statement. “This latest announcement for TMMAL’s sixth expansion is another indication of the company’s confidence in our workforce and its commitment and investment into our community and future.”
The other investments announced by Toyota today include $16 million at Toyota’s Georgetown Ky., plant; $109 million at the Troy, Missouri, plant; and $36 million at the Jackson, Tenn., plant.
Last year, Toyota announced new investments totaling $5.1 billion into its U.S. manufacturing operations to support electrification efforts, demonstrating its commitment to building where it sells and supporting local economies, according to a press release. Toyota’s U.S. plants produce half of the vehicles it sells in the U.S., and its North American assembly facilities produce more than three-quarters (76%) of the vehicles it sells in the U.S., according to the press release.