As Alabama’s economy continues to dig its way out of the lull inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s auto industry is poised for some big movement.
Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Honda and newcomer Mazda-Toyota all have plans to produce more vehicles and more jobs for Alabama.
In Tuscaloosa County for starters, Economic Development Authority (TCEDA) Executive Director Danielle Winningham said the area will see as many as 3,200 new jobs within the next 2 to 3 years.
Last December, Mercedes-Benz announced that its Tuscaloosa County plant will begin producing electric SUVs in 2022.
The plant, which has been in preparation for the move for the past three years, will produce the EQE SUV and EQS SUV on the same line with SUVs with conventional and plug-in hybrid drives.
It’s part of a company-wide move to launch six electric versions of its vehicles, with batteries also made at the company’s Bibb County battery plant, as well as in Germany, Poland and China.
Winningham said the 3,200 new jobs would be spread throughout Mercedes-Benz and also their supplier base.
“Some will be existing suppliers, and there could be others potentially announcing,” Winningham said. “Lear announced in 2019 that they would be expanding. They had projected a $12.5 million capital investment, and they ended up having $28.9 million capital investment, adding 454 new jobs to the area. They’re starting their production on that part in June.”
Winningham said job additions aren’t just in production. Some will be in engineering as well as research and development. And more announcements are possible this year.
“We’re working with our partners at West Alabama Works, the University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College to make sure our workforce is ready for the job openings that will be coming to this area,” she said.
In Huntsville, construction is 95 percent complete on the $2.3 billion Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant, which is projected to ultimately employ 4,000 workers and begin production later this year.
Lyndsay Ferguson, human resources manager at MTM, said the plant currently employs more than 1,700 employees, with more coming on each week.
According to Ferguson, MTM will start production in phases – beginning with ….CONTINUE READING WWW.AL.COM