Toyota will build its eighth North American vehicle assembly plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi the company announced on Feb. 27.
The new 1,700-acre site, to be located just outside of Tupelo, will have the capacity to build 150,000 vehicles annually of the Highlander sport utility vehicle.
Operations at the plant will include stamping, body weld, plastics, paint and assembly. Production is scheduled to begin by 2010. Toyota will invest $1.3 billion in the plant and employ 2,000.
The region's workforce played a part in why Toyota chose Mississippi according to Ray Tanguay, Toyota manufacturing executive vice president. "On my visits to Northern Mississippi, I have talked with area companies and observed their workforce," he said. "What I observed were people who are educated, ethical and friendly with a strong work ethic -- a perfect match for the Toyota Way." He added that the area's existing companies had high praise for the workforce. "They were definitely the best sales people."
A new rail district will be created to provide "competitive rail access for the plant," said Tanguay.