HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. announced in January that they will jointly build a $1.6 billion assembly plant near here to produce the Toyota Corolla and an as-yet unidentified Mazda crossover.
Brian Krinock, senior vice president in charge of vehicle plants at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, will play a key role in the construction and launch of the plant and its supply chain. Krinock, 55, spoke to News Editor Lindsay Chappell last month here about supplier opportunities at the project.
Q: The north Alabama site for the Toyota and Mazda plant is close to Toyota's other Corolla plant in north Mississippi. How will that affect the supply chain?
A: We'll get an economic benefit for the Corolla, since we can give suppliers the advantage of more volume here.
How will it work, producing vehicles for Toyota and Mazda?
It will be a joint venture. It's a new company. Not Toyota and not Mazda, but a new company. There's no name for it yet. We envision that the two companies will have new synergies working together. We have suppliers all across North America. As we merge Corolla activity, there are new supplier opportunities. And as Mazda has a new vehicle on the market, there will be new opportunities for suppliers.
As a joint venture, will it have its own purchasing operations?
Will it have an on-site purchasing operation for suppliers?
That will be determined later.
Toyota and Mazda also plan to produce electric vehicles together. Will that happen in the Alabama plant?
Multiple parts of the company are working together to decide what we want to do in the future. Those disciplines may merge or they may be separate for a period of time. But the partnership, long term, brings all those pieces together.
Electrification is going to happen. And Toyota's committed to going to electric vehicles in the future. But right now, the plan for the new plant is about the products we already make.