Over the past few decades, Toyota has been a key player in creating a thriving foreign auto industry on U.S. soil. In 2017, the auto industry giant needed a site for a new, multimillion-square-foot plant. With a hard deadline of going online in 2021, they needed it fast. After years of partnership, our team was already well-versed in Toyota’s priorities, and we mobilized overnight. Our data-driven analyses of real estate, labor and incentives requirements set the foundation for an expedited site search executed with precision.
Click below for our Project Profile on Toyota Mazda’s historic, $1.6-billion investment in a new auto plant in Huntsville, Alabama.
When Toyota found a like-minded partner in Mazda, this undertaking was elevated to historic proportions, and we pivoted with it. Mazda shared Toyota’s philosophies around innovation and productivity, and both firms stood to benefit from the efficiency of working together in one facility.
By aggregating and ranking workforce, operating environment, site specifics, logistics, incentives and quality of life, we quickly narrowed the site list. With six weeks to traverse half of the country, how did we decide which cities would make our itinerary? Labor: size, composition, education and engineering capabilities.
While the site’s physical characteristics were vetted, we interviewed HR directors at large employers to uncover the true local operating climate. From there, it all boiled down to livability, something on which Toyota Mazda refused to compromise. Playing out “a day in the life” across the remaining handful of sites, we looked for Japanese Saturday schools, shopped at international grocery stores, ate at Japanese restaurants and visited local schools training the workforce of the future.
Huntsville was ultimately selected because they were ready, willing and able. The site shows years of thoughtful preparation, and the city has ample advanced manufacturing expertise. It’s a place where two savvy automakers will collaborate, fortifying a shared competitive advantage as technology companies continue to focus on the industry as one ripe for disruption.