Toyota Engine Rollout Located in Huntsville, Madison County, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Inc. (TMMAL) is an engine assembly plant operated by Toyota Motor Corporation. TMMAL currently assembles four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines for a variety of North American Toyota models. The 1.1-million-square-foot facility has a total annual production capacity of around 750,000 engines and employs approximately 1,200 workers. The plant’s approval was announced in February 2001, with the facility producing its first engine in April 2003. TMMAL was built as part of Toyota’s strategy to expand its capacity in North America in the early 2000s. Toyota officials hoped to expand its share of the American pickup truck and sport utility vehicle (SUV) market. These vehicles are highly profitable but specific to the United States, with models being difficult to sell in countries with stricter fuel efficiency requirements and higher gas prices. For these reasons, Toyota needed more factory space to build large pickup trucks, as well as a plant that would provide V8 engines. TMMAL became the first plant outside of Japan to produce V8 engines for the company’s line of trucks.
A combination of state and local incentives, as well as determined lobbying by government officials, helped persuade Toyota to locate the engine manufacturing facility in Alabama. State and local officials worked together to produce an incentives package for Huntsville that was valued at $29.9 million. Then-U.S. Representative Robert “Bud“ Cramer from Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District also lobbied Toyota to locate its plant in his district. Then-governor Don Siegelman was also heavily involved in the lobbying effort. Siegelman had previously helped attract the investment of Honda Motor Company in Lincoln, Talladega County, where the company built a new vehicle-assembly plant: Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. Siegelman would later go on to successfully lobby Hyundai to locate another assembly plant, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, in Montgomery in 2002. These new plants, in addition to an existing Mercedes-Benz factory near Tuscaloosa, helped make Alabama a key player in the American auto industry.
Toyota Toyota’s initial investment in Huntsville represented $220 million in capital and 350 jobs and focused on building V8 engines for Toyota trucks sold in America. Toyota would greatly expand the facility over the next decade. In July 2003, the company made an additional investment of $20 million to build V6 engines at the plant. In 2004, it invested another $250 million into the facility to add an additional capacity of 150,000 V8 engines. This investment, as well as the addition of the V6 line, brought employment up to around 800 workers. In 2011, the facility began producing four-cylinder engines for use in the Camry midsize sedan and the RAV4 SUV. In 2014, Toyota completed the expansion of another line producing V6 engines costing approximately $80 million and employing an additional 125 workers. By July 2015, Toyota intends to have invested an additional $150 million in the facility’s machining capacity. These investments brought the facility’s current employment to approximately 1,200 workers. The expansions of TMMAL coincided with additional investments in Bodine Aluminum, a Toyota subsidiary. Bodine casts cylinder blocks and heads in Tennessee and Missouri that are then assembled into complete engines in the Huntsville plant.
TMMAL assembles engines on four separate production lines. It is currently the only Toyota factory to assemble 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder engines within the same production facility. The facility includes machining equipment for milling engine blocks from unfinished cast blanks. The four production lines assemble engines for a variety of Toyota’s North American models, including the Tundra, Sequoia, Highlander, Tacoma, RAV4, and Camry. Employees at TMMAL are not unionized, like all other Toyota manufacturing workers in the United States and Canada. The parent company has made significant investments in TMMAL to reduce energy usage and lower the facility’s environmental impact. TMMAL is a zero-waste-to-landfill facility and has undertaken innovative projects to recycle hybrid car batteries and collect rainwater. As a result, TMMAL has been recognized multiple times by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Energy Star certified facility because it operates at lower costs while protecting the environment.