The unemployed of Mississippi received some encouraging news this morning as Toyota announced that it plans to restart construction at its Tupelo-area plant, bringing over 2,000 jobs to the state. Automotive News reports that Toyota plans to use the plant to build the perennially hot-selling Corolla late next year.
Today's announcement brings some closure to a bad news story for Toyota. The plant was originally started in 2007 with the goal of building the Highlander crossover. In mid-2008, however, Toyota switched course and announced that the facility would instead assemble the Prius. But by the end of 2008, it was obvious that the auto industry was in serious trouble, and Toyota decided it was best to mothball the plant. The facility was nothing but a shell at the time, but reports showed that the cost of the plant, which originally was estimated to cost $800 million to build, had ballooned to $1.3 billion.
The decision to build the Corolla in Mississippi means that nearly 90 percent of the hot-selling compact will be built in North America. Toyota previously shifted 150,000 units of Corolla production to Japan when it shuttered the NUMMI plant in California earlier in the year.
[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]