Toyota has selected Blue Springs, Mississippi, as the location for the company’s eighth North American plant.
The company announced Tuesday that the $1.3 billion assembly plant will be set on a 1,700-acre rural site about 10 miles from Tupelo, the eighth-largest city in the state.
The company says it will manufacture approximately 150,000 Highlander sport utility vehicles a year.
This part of the state will see the addition of 2,000 jobs, a benefit to the area’s struggling economy due to losses in furniture manufacturing positions.
Construction is expected to begin this fall, and the first vehicles are set to roll off the assembly line in three years.
The site won out over competition from sites in neighboring states Arkansas and Tennessee. Despite earlier speculation that the company would choose the 750-acre site in Marion, Arkansas, or the 1,600-acre site in Chattanooga, Toyota surprised many with its choice of Mississippi.
Marion was the runner-up last time Toyota went new site shopping. It ultimately picked San Antonio to manufacture its redesigned Tundra pickup series.
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With its new selection in Mississippi, Toyota is following through on plans to add more plant capacity in the southeastern states, where labor costs remain low.
Mississippi offered incentives worth $296 million, according to Toyota officials.
The state is also home to a Nissan Motor Corp. plant in Canton, Mississippi, approximately 26 miles outside of Jackson. Nissan opened that assembly plant in 2003 and employs approximately 4,000 employees.
According to the 2000 Census, the median income for a family was $52,188. The 2000 Census population lists Blue Springs’ population at 144 residents.
The closest big cities are Memphis (84 miles); Huntsville (132 miles); and Birmingham (135 miles).