Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi and officials from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc. (TMMMS) announced today that the company is resuming hiring at its Blue Springs plant where the next generation Corolla compact car will be built.
Toyota is now finished with the construction of the plant that was put on hold in late in 2008 when the reckless practices of Wall Street caused the collapse of the global economy.
Instead of building Prius hybrid models as previously announced, the $1.3 billion facility will make Corolla models instead, starting late next year. Initially the plant was going to produce Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicles when the project got underway in 2007. The collapse of the truck market and failure of the Tundra full-size pickup truck have forced the Japanese maker to rebalance its production in the U.S. while protecting Japanese jobs in Japan.
The decision to hire as many as 2,000 workers in anti-union Mississippi is the latest setback for the beleaguered United Auto Workers union since Corollas were previously built in a unionized plant – NUMMI – in Fremont, California that Toyota shut in March. Corollas for North America have been built in Japan since April.