(April 27, 2018) – A delegation from Alabama visited Japan this week to meet with high-level executives from Mazda, Toyota and Honda to help fortify the state’s relationships with global automakers and discuss further growth plans.
The team included Governor Kay Ivey, Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Huntsville/Madison County Chamber President & CEO Chip Cherry.
The group traveled to Tokyo on April 24 and returned to Alabama on April 26. During their visit, they also met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty.
“By visiting with Mazda, Toyota and Honda in their home country, we have continued to kindle our relationship with these fine companies and have returned the respect they showed by meeting with me at the State Capitol in recent months,” said Gov. Ivey.
Mazda and Toyota are preparing to build a $1.6 billion assembly plant in Limestone County that will have 4,000 workers at full production. When the joint venture launches in 2021, Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing USA, will become the first new assembly facility to open in Alabama in more than 15 years.
“A goal of the mission was to reiterate our support for the development and implementation of the Mazda-Toyota joint venture’s supply chain strategy for the new assembly plant,” Secretary Canfield said. “The supplier network will be substantial, and we’d like to see it anchored in Alabama.”
The groundbreaking is scheduled to take place later this year.
“These face-to-face meetings are central in our relationship-building with partners who are investing in Alabama,” said Mayor Battle. “We’ve been good friends with Toyota for many years and we’re pleased to now include Mazda in our Alabama automotive network.”
Mayor Battle and Chamber President Chip Cherry have traveled annually to Japan, including visits with Commission Chairman Dale Strong to establish and maintain relationships with company leaders.
“Our visit to Japan was very productive,” said Cherry. “We were able to visit with our long term corporate and community partner Toyota, and we also enjoyed beginning the process of forging a relationship with Mazda. The visit with the US Ambassador to Japan was also very enlightening. Relationships are very important, especially so in Japan. Our visit further strengthened our relationships and we look forward to seeing the process to build the plant in Huntsville continue to unfold in the coming months.”