How the Toyota-Mazda deal ranks in Alabama

Updated: Jan. 11, 2018 at 9:55 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The Toyota-Mazda hybrid plant will become the latest vehicle manufacturing facility to call Alabama home.

The companies will join Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai. The question remains: how does Huntsville's deal compare?

A study published by Troy University professor Dr. George C. Crowley calculated just how much the state and regional partners spent on luring automotive companies to Alabama. We adjusted the numbers for inflation to compare the Toyota-Mazda deal.

Mercedes-Benz announced it would come to Tuscaloosa in 1993 with a $520 million investment. That's just a third of what Toyota-Mazda plan to spend in Alabama.

Honda followed in 1999 with a $450 million investment that would employ 1,500 people. Toyota-Mazda plans to hire 4,000 people.

Hyundai announced it would build in Montgomery back in 2002. The massive $1.4 billion deal took more than $350 million in incentives to close. However, that price is still lower than the $380 million being offered to Toyota and Mazda.

Dr. Thomas Pieplow with Athens State University says only time will tell if this math works in the state's favor.

"There's always a chance. I couldn't say it's a slam dunk, but I will tell you the little bit that they've released and I've been able to see, it appears Alabama did very very well in this."

So how did Alabama beat out an even greater incentives package, totaling an astonishing $1.5 billion, from North Carolina?

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong says the regional partnerships in Alabama helped seal the deal.

"What we did in this package is proved our entire area. North Alabama and southern Tennessee understood the value of creating these jobs and they came forward and we are thankful for that," said Strong.

The TVA megasite where the plant will be built has rail access, unlimited power, nearly unlimited water, river access and proximity to the interstate.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle says the existing relationship between Alabama and Toyota played a major role in the Toyota and Mazda's decision to come back to Huntsville.

"It's about relationships. It's about partners. We went out hard after this because we knew Toyota. We have been there, visited Toyota several times. We have been out to the plant and seen the way Toyota is a great community partner," said Battle.

Production is expected to begin by 2021.

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