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Toyota to build Miss. SUV plant

From FREE PRESS BUSINESS| February 28,2007

Toyota Motor Corp. announced this morning plans to build a $1.3-billion assembly plant near Tupelo., Miss., expected to open in 2010.

The plant, which will employ 2,000 people, will have the capacity to build 150,000 vehicles a year of Toyota's Highlander SUV.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour called the Toyota plant the "crown jewel of economic development."

"Thank you for seeing how bright Mississippi's future is," Barbour said at a news conference from Tupelo High School.

With U.S. sales growing at more than 12% last year, Toyota’s North American production capacity has been stretched. Toyota opened a Tundra plant in Texas last fall. A Camry plant is opening this year in Indiana and a RAV4 plant is slated to open next year in Ontario.

The plant will be built on a 1,700 acre site at Blue Springs, land that has been promoted for economic development.

Mississippi was chosen in a competition with Tennessee and Arkansas.

The plant will be the second carmaker to locate in the state. Nissan Motor Corp. opened its assembly plant north of Jackson in 2003. The 4,000-employee plant produced about 278,000 vehicles last year.

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