Alabama has been making it look easy to attract the auto industry for the past 20 years. In addition to bringing in major automotive projects from Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota, the state saw Mercedes announce last September it will spend $1 billion more at its Vance assembly plant to build electric vehicles there. And in January of this year, the city of Huntsville won the bid for a $1.6 billion joint-venture assembly plant between Toyota and Mazda that will employ 4,000 people.
But the backstory of the Toyota-Mazda project reveals just how much work has been going into laying the groundwork to bring the auto industry to Huntsville.
State and local government agencies, aided by the seven-state power provider, the Tennessee Valley Authority, have been working for a decade - since 2008 - to gather and prepare the raw acreage outside Huntsville that will now become the Toyota-Mazda auto plant, expected to open in 2021.