Toyota and Mazda said Thursday they will pour another $830 million into their joint manufacturing plant under construction in Huntsville, Ala., to boost production efficiency at what had been a $1.6 billion plant slated to start making new crossovers next year.
The added investment, which the automakers said would be used to "incorporate more cutting-edge manufacturing technologies into its production lines and provide enhanced training" to its 4,000 planned workers, boosts the total investment to $2.33 billion. It also represents a roughly 50 percent increase in its planned costs less than a year before it is due to start producing new compact crossovers for both Mazda and Toyota.
Construction of the plant, which was announced in 2018, was slightly delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Toyota says that most work has been completed on its roof, walls, floor, ductwork and fire protection.
The automakers revealed no further details of what the added investment would pay for. A spokeswoman for the plant confirmed that neither the footprint of the facility nor its planned production capacity or employment are changing as a result of the added investment.
When operating at capacity, the two Japanese automakers say the plant will be able to produce up to 150,000 subcompact crossovers each for Mazda and Toyota. It's believed the Toyota crossover will be named the Toyota Corolla Cross.
The plant, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, has hired about 600 workers, "with plans to resume accepting applications for production positions later in 2020," the two companies said in a release.