(Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. plans to hire 400 workers and invest $170 million to build its next-generation Corolla compact at an underutilized factory in Mississippi.
The plant now employs 2,000 full-time, temporary and contract workers making 155,000 Corollas a year, Sean Suggs, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi said in an interview. With the expanded workforce at the factory in Blue Springs, near Tupelo, Suggs is hoping to meet or exceed the 170,000-vehicle annual output for which the plant was designed.
“Building where we sell – that is one of our philosophies,’’ Suggs said. “Now it’s our turn to talk about and show what we can do.”
About half of the 1,700 acres on which the Blue Springs plant is located is vacant, but it’s available if Toyota ever decides to install a second assembly line, said Suggs, who has also worked for Nissan Motor Co. in the state. A successful launch of the next-generation Corolla next year could help convince Toyota management the Blue Springs workforce is ready for such an expansion, he said.
“We’ve been building up a really good resume of manufacturing excellence,’’ Suggs said. “That’s been our goal.’’
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.