North Carolina to overtake Alabama in $1.6B Toyota-Mazda plant project, says site-selection consultant

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A Toyota assembly plant in the UK (Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.com)

North Carolina and Alabama have been shortlisted as potential locations for a $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda vehicle assembly, and site-selection consultant John Boyd believes that NC will close the project, according to a report published in Business North Carolina.

“This is the plant that North Carolina has been waiting for, for a couple of decades,” said Boyd, who leads the New York-based The Boyd Co.

When the car manufacturers announced their search for a project site in 2017, several states were attracted by the offer. Aside from the apparent economic benefits, the plant will assemble what Boyd described as “crossover” cars with “cutting-edge artificial intelligence.” “This is not your grandfather’s auto plant. It will require a highly skilled workforce,” he said.

To compete with other free-spending states bidding for the project, North Carolina legislators approved new laws on 2017 that paved the way for the NC Commerce Department and Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina to match Toyota’s demand of at least $1 billion to defray costs.

Boyd also pointed out that unlike Alabama, North Carolina has megasites ready for use. He particularly singled out the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite near Liberty as the manufacturers’ top prospect for the state. Moreover, he also cited the following advantages: a more highly-regarded educational system; lower union membership; less competition for workers; and a bigger congressional delegation.

Twenty years ago, the two states also went head to head for a Mercedes Benz plant. The car manufacturer selected a site in Tuscaloosa, Alabama instead of a parcel in Mebane, 30 miles west of Durham.

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