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Toyota begins assembly of 2012 Toyota Corolla in Mississippi

Toyota this week celebrated the opening of Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Blue Springs, Miss. TMMMS, as it is called by Toyota, is the Japanese carmaker's brand spanking new $800 million plant where workers assemble the 2012 Toyota Corolla passenger car.

The Corolla is the world’s best-selling car of all time. The plant is outside of Tupelo, Miss. Helping to mark the occasion were Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

TMMMS is Toyota’s 14th North American plant. Opening a U.S. plant at this time further advances Toyota's efforts to design, develop and build vehicles where they are sold. The plant will turn out 150,000 vehicles annually and has created 2,000 jobs in Mississippi.

“Building vehicles where we sell them helps us be even closer to our customers. The U.S. market remains a key to Toyota’s overall success, and Toyota Mississippi will play an important role for us here,” Toyoda said at the ceremony.

The governor said it's a great thing Toyota is doing for Mississippi.

“Today is a great day for Blue Springs and the entire State of Mississippi,” Barbour told reporters. “Toyota chose Mississippi for its dedicated, talented workforce, and I know they will enjoy great success at their newest facility. We are proud to be the home of Toyota, and we look forward to a long and successful relationship with our newest corporate partner.”

The plant manager said excitement abounds as the long-anticipated project comes to fruition.

“Mississippi has provided us with a great workforce who welcomes challenges and are eager to learn,” said Masafumi Hamaguchi, president of TMMMS. “Our slogan is: ‘Always look for the best way, using our pioneer spirit.’ The Mississippi workforce has shown that they have this spirit.”

A Toyota plant in Buffalo, W.Va., is supplying engines to Corollas at TMMMS. Cylinder heads and blocks for those engines are produced at Toyota’s Bodine Aluminum castings plants in Troy, Mo., and Jackson, Tenn.

The initial announcement that the plant in Mississippi would be built was in February 2007. Groundbreaking on the 1,700-acre site was in April 2007.

You can reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected].

In the photo: Akio Toyoda rolls out the first car.
Image source: Toyota