Toyota announced today that it will not be building the Corolla at the new Mazda-Toyota assembly plant in Alabama but instead an SUV.
In January of last year, Mazda and Toyota confirmed a new joint-venture manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama. Mazda said a new crossover will be built there while Toyota said the new Corolla was going to get produced there.
A year and a half later, Toyota backtracks on its decision announced that they will not be building the Corolla at the upcoming Alabama plant. Instead, a new “yet-to-be announced SUV” will take the place of the compact sedan.
Automotive News reports that this all-new SUV should be shown later this year, in Las Vegas, during a Toyota dealer business conference.
The Japanese manufacturer states that this shift “is in response to changing market demands and a growing consumer appetite for light trucks and SUVs which are achieving record sales, including Toyota’s best-selling RAV4.”
That being said, the Toyota Corolla will continue to be built about 250 km away at Toyota’s Blue Springs, Mississippi, plant.
Meanwhile, the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. (MTMUS) plant in Alabama is still on track with the start of production expected to begin sometimes in 2021. This new factory will have the capacity to build 300,000 vehicles annually split evenly between the crossovers.
Both manufacturers are splitting costs in this $1.6 billion investment that is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs.