When Mercedes-Benz announced plans to open its only U.S. assembly plant in Alabama in 1993, an industry was launched. Since then, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota, as well as an expanding network of automotive suppliers, have joined Alabama’s vehicle manufacturing industry. A new dimension was added to this industry when Autocar, a maker of heavy-duty work trucks, launched production in the state.
Employment in Alabama’s automotive manufacturing sector now exceeds 40,000, surging from just a few thousand in the days before Mercedes. Around 26,000 of these jobs are in Alabama’s growing automotive supplier network, which now counts 150 major companies.
Both employment and production will receive a massive boost when the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA partnership opens a joint venture assembly plant in Alabama. Construction began 2019, and the Huntsville facility will employ up to 4,000 workers after production launches in 2021. Annual production capacity will be up to 300,000 vehicles. When the project was announced in January 2018, the investment in the facility was set for $1.6 billion, but Mazda Toyota Manufacturing revealed plans in August 2020 for an additional $830 million in investment.
The output of Alabama’s auto industry is a powerful driver of economic growth for the state. Vehicles have become Alabama’s No. 1 export, with shipments to around 90 nations around the world every year. In 2019, exports of Alabama-made vehicles and parts totaled $7.5 billion, led by shipments to Germany, Canada and China.
Thanks in part to training programs from AIDT and others preparing a skilled workforce, growth beneath the hood of Alabama’s auto industry will continue to pick up pace. Partners in the state’s automotive training program include the Alabama Community College System and the Alabama Robotics Technology Park in Decatur, where technicians learn how to operate advanced robots and automation processes in a one-of-a-kind facility.
- Nearly 1 million cars and light trucks produced in 2019
- Over 40,000 automotive manufacturing jobs
- More than 150 Tier 1 and 2 automotive suppliers in the state
- Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai produced about 1.5 million automotive engines in 2019
- Exports of Alabama-made vehicles and parts totaled $7.5 billion in 2019
- Alabama will produce 13 different passenger vehicle models in 2021
- Transportation equipment is Alabama’s No. 1 export category
- Alabama is the No. 4 auto exporting state
- New Flyer
Automotive Supplier Companies
- Johnson Controls
- Newman Technology
- Grupo Antolin
- Truck & Wheel Group
- North American Lighting
- Yutaka Technologies
- Bermco Aluminum
- Honda Lock
- HS Automotive
- KTH Leesburg
- Nitto Denko
- Rainsville Technology
- SMART of Alabama
- TS Tech
- WKW Erbsloeh
- ZF Chassis Systems