Global automaker Toyota announced plans today to invest $222 million at its manufacturing facility in Huntsville to create a new production line for four-cylinder engines, including a hybrid electric version.
The project is part of a $383 million companywide plan that injects investment into four U.S. manufacturing plants that support powertrain production for Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Plants in Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee are included, with the Alabama plant receiving the largest investment.
Toyota said the investments advance its commitment to vehicle electrification and meeting customer demand.
“When it comes to vehicle powertrains, Toyota customers want options that are fuel-efficient and electrified,” said Norm Bafunno, Toyota senior vice president for Unit Manufacturing and Engineering. “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,” Bafunno added.
With this investment, Toyota Alabama will create a new four-cylinder production line with the capacity to produce engines for both combustion and hybrid electric powertrains.
Additionally, the footprint of the 1.3 million-square-foot Huntsville facility will expand by 114,000 square feet, which marks the plant’s sixth expansion and its eighth investment project since opening in 2003.
“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,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “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.”
Last October, Toyota marked the opening of a new twin-turbo V6 engine line following a $288 million expansion project that added 450 jobs at the Huntsville plant, the largest hiring in Toyota’s history in Alabama. The new line produces a hybrid electric version of the twin-turbo V6 engine.
The project’s hiring boosted the plant’s total employment to 1,800 and increased production capacity to 900,000 engines annually.
“It’s our dedicated workforce that continues to drive Toyota Alabama forward,” said Jason Puckett, president of Toyota Alabama. “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 in Toyota’s electrified future.”
Overall, the plant represents a $1.5 billion investment for Toyota.
“Toyota has become a pillar in Alabama’s automotive industry over the past two decades, and this latest milestone represents another important development in the automaker’s strategic growth plans for the Huntsville facility,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“We have been with Toyota every step of the way since engine production began in 2003, and we’re looking forward to building an even more exciting future together,” he said.
The Huntsville plant is among Toyota’s largest engine facilities globally and the automaker’s only one in the world to build four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines under one roof. It has produced 8 million engines since the plant opened.
“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,” Mayor Tommy Battle said. “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.”
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.