The largest Japanese automaker announced in January 2018 it would build the factory in Alabama in a joint venture with Mazda. Toyota said the shift is due to "a growing consumer appetite for light trucks and SUVs." Mazda announced in February 2019 that it would build a new SUV at the plant.
Toyota said it still expects the plan to start production in 2021. Construction remains on schedule, and hiring has begun. The plant could create up to 4,000 new jobs and build 300,000 vehicles annually.
Corolla production will remain at Toyota's plant in Blue Springs, Miss.