Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Automakers Toyota and Mazda on Wednesday announced plans to build a new final assembly in Alabama.
The $1.6 billion automotive plant will be built on a "mega site" in the city of Huntsville, complete with interstate access, the potential for rail service and utility service capable of serving a major manufacturing facility.
"With this announcement, our world changes overnight," Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said. "It vaults Alabama to the top as an industry leader in producing the next generation of cars that will power our nation."
Toyota and Mazda plan to equally split the cost of the plant, which will build Toyota Corollas and a new small SUV from Mazda.
The plant is set to begin operation in 2021 when it will produce 30,000 vehicles a year and employ 4,000 workers.
Alabama is presently tied with Tennessee for fifth in the United States in annual auto production, according to the Center for Automotive Research, but could move up to fourth following with the addition of the Toyota-Mazda plant.
Toyota has 10 existing U.S. factories, including an engine plant in Huntsville and two other facilities nearby in Mississippi.
"Our investment to establish a new vehicle assembly plant with Mazda builds on the strong success we have enjoyed in Alabama where we produce engines for the North American market," Toyota President Akio Toyoda said.
The plant also will make Mazda the most recent automaker to establish a final assembly plant in the United States.
"We hope to work, learn and grow together with the people of Alabama and Huntsville," said CEO of Mazda Motor Masamichi Kogai.