Toyota Motor Manufacturing Missisippi today had its line-off ceremony, which is the ceremonial opening of the plant.
The event was from 11:45 to 12:30 p.m. today.
We were live-tweeting the event. Our tweets in chronological order:
<p>(the tweets are from @carlie_kollath unless otherwise noted)
We are inside #ToyotaMS plant. Everyone is getting seated. All team members are here.
Music playing: “I’ll take you back.” On screens: Let the performance begin.
Toyota team members are cheering. Event is about to start.
Music is the theme at today’s #ToyotaMS event.
The #ToyotaMS event is inside the plant. We are on the concrete floor in white chairs. Team members standing around us.
Lights are spinning around the area, lighting us up in blues, purples and magenta.
Two platforms set up for video media and photographers. Both look pretty full.
Two rows set up for print journalists. We come in force
Song playing now: “Standing at the crossroads.”
Seeing lots of @CDFMS people, Tupelo biz leaders and regional econ developers in crowd
Jack Reed Sr has a front row seat. Great man. Glad he is here.
More and more Toyota team members are arriving. They are wrapping around the seats like a big U.
Oh! Just spotted SOS Delbert Hosemann.
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Toyota Motor Manufacturing MS!
David Copenhaver takes stage: Oh my! What a wonderful day.
Copenhaver: Please welcome Gov @HaleyBarbour (everyone standing)
Copenhaver: Welcome Akio Toyoda (everyone standing – huge cheer from team members)
Copenhaver: Welcome paint team member Jamie Turner
Welcomes TMMMS president Masafumi Hamaguchi and TMMMS Chairman Steve St. Angelo
Copenhaver welcoming lots of people – Phil Bryant, wives, Toyota Counsel of Japan, legislators, etc.
Copenhaver: Welcomes visiting Toyota execs from Japan. (They stand, wave and are applauded).
Copenhaver still welcoming all Toyota execs who are visiting. They take up the entire front row.
Copenhaver: MS senators are not here due to imp vote but they have reps here.
Copenhaver: Our theme today is “Let the performance begin.” Thought this was a fitting thing. MS birthplace of America’s music.
Copenhaver: #ToyotaMS hopes to have great performances daily.
Now showing an MDA video about the plant and the MS Corolla.
Oh! Just saw DJournal’s Thomas Wells snaking through the crowds with two cameras in tow. Go, Thomas!
We’re told the production line has been stopped until 2 so team members can enjoy the festivities.
Video is showing lots of pictures of the process to get here. Just showed front page of Daily Journal/@NEMS360. Score!
Blue Springs groundbreaking was in 2007. Slowed by economy. Changed vehicles. Will create 1,700 jobs.
Video says #ToyotaMS will create a $500M payroll with direct and indirect jobs.
Video has several interviews with #ToyotaMS team members. “Great job.” “Excited to see first car roll off line.”
Video showing a Corolla being put together on the line. More pix of team members.
The Corolla in the video is black.
Smoke is on stage at #ToyotaMS
Announcer: And now the star of today’s show: The first Mississippi built Toyota Corolla.
Car drives out on stage in a cloud of smoke. is black.
Four team members get out of Corolla and wave.
Copenhaver: Congratulations, team members!
Corolla is parked on stage. Lit up. @HaleyBarbour takes stage.
Barbour: God gave us a beautiful day outside for our first day with Toyota. Marsha and I welcome you to our state.
Barbour: Particularly, we want to welcome Akio Toyoda. Roro, we are honored to have you and your husband here.
Barbour: It’s easy to be a good partner in easy times, but Toyota has been our great partner when it wasn’t as easy
Barbour: in 2004, I met with Toyota in NYC. Toyota didn’t have a plan for production in our state. I knew Toyota was premier mftg in world.
Barbour: 3 trips to Japan later, I was excited in 2007 to announce at Tupelo HS that MS had won most sought after project.
Barbour: MS looked them in the eye and said “we understand. Don’t worry about MS. We’re going to be ready when you’re ready.”
Barbour’s comment came after it was announced to delay.
Barbour: I knew they made right decision. 75 years from now, your grandchildren’s children are going to be working here
Barbour: These things don’t happen over night. See people here who helped us. Thank you! Welcome home to MS, Toyota. Welcome home.
Barbour: Some incentives we were able to give were put together by our federal delegation.
Barbour: Thank you to our legislatures who never wavered.
Barbour: Thank you to the local officials who had the courage to step out and do this.
Barbour: To MDOT, MDA and MDEQ, thank you for a phenomenal job.
Barbour: Thank you to Leland Speed of MDA. He’s like a bad penny who keeps coming back.
Barbour: 11 MS companies are supplying this plant and we just started. (applause)
Barbour: Community colleges provide indispensable training. Same for higher ed.
Barbour: Center for Mftg Excellence came out of this project. Now at @UnivMS.
Barbour: There’s just so many people who deserve credit. If I missed anybody, I’m sorry.
Barbour: People who deserve most credit are the workforce. That’s why Toyota came here.
Barbour: It wasn’t about politicians or incentives. Toyota came here because they could hire great people.
Barbour: We’re so proud of you.
Barbour: Transformation that has happened in Kentucky because of Toyota is tremendous.
Barbour: 25 years from now, we will look back and see the same thing has happened in NEMS.
Barbour: We’re most proud of you team members and Toyota and how you are changing the future of NEMS for the better.
Copenhaver: Thank you, Gov. Barbour. You have been an awesome CEO.
Plant prez Masafumi Hamaguchi on stage.
Hamaguchi: I have only been prez of #toyotaMS for 1 year. Been very fast year. Very tight sked to prepare plant.
Hamaguchi: MS has provided great workforce. Team members are bright, excited. Welcome the challenge and ready to run.
Hamaguchi: To reach today, it has taken strong teamwork approach. I want to thank each and every one of you. (applause)
Hamaguchi: I always tell everybody I can not do anything by myself. It takes all of us working together.
Hamaguchi: You have been very patient with our project. Even when our project was suspended, you continued to support us.
Hamaguchi: This has made us even more determined to show our support. We are long-time partners.
Hamaguchi: Now, many of us are happy to call NEMS our home.
Hamaguchi: My promise to you our team members: We will keep safety and quality in our mind every day.
Hamaguchi: Building No. 1 quality Corolla will ensure job security.
Hamaguchi: Customer-first thinking is a critical part of our company.
Hamaguchi: Thank you for joining us to celebrate. (shakes hands and sits down)
Copenhaver: For many years, we have relied on Toyota Motor Corp to start new plant. We have worked to become more self reliant.
Copenhaver: 190 people have relocated here to provide support. This is the most self-reliant plant so far.
Copenhaver: It is a sacrifice for them as they have relocated for at least a year to ensure that #toyotaMS had a successful launch.
Copenhaver: Thank you to people of NEMS for your warm hospitality. Some of our support team has grown to love region and will stay.
Ms. Jamie Turner of paint shop is the team member rep. Now on stage.
Turner: I was full of uncertainty when I moved from Atlanta back to my hometown of New Albany to work.
Turner: Since beginning in May, I have worked with many people from many cultures.
Turner: Benefits that mean the most to me – allow me to be proactive in quality of life for me and family (daughter)
Turner: I wish every team member could be on stage today with me. Without you, this new chapter in #toyotaMS history could not be possible.
Copenhaver: State produced Toyota commercials that are airing nationally. (showing the videos now)
Movie – “quality of the cars have a lot to do with the quality of people who produce them.”
TV comm – “my mom thinks I build cars. But what I really build is reputation. Toyota’s rep is on the line. That’s OK. So is ours.”
Steve St. Angelo, plant chairman: 2 weeks ago came to #toyotaMS. Had 2 hours by myself. I was so surprised and so impressed w/ quality.
St. Angelo: Team members, job well done.
St. Angelo: Gov. Barbour, I don’t have the right words to express it. You are a great guy and u have a friend forever in Toyota.
St. Angelo: Get to introduce the 3rd gen of Toyoda family to run our company.
St. Angelo: Akio, thank you for believing in us and allowing us to finish this plant. Thank you for believing in America.
St. Angelo: Akio, I promise you, we won’t let you down.
Toyoda takes podium. Toyoda: To all of you, thank you for the warm welcome you have giving Toyota and for showing your faith, trust in us.
Toyoda: Team members, congratulations for joining the team. We’re proud of you.
Toyoda: We’re so grateful for you for being so patient and trusting us in the twists and turns.
Toyoda: What I really appreciate is your understanding that we need to make sound biz decisions.
Toyoda: Barbour – your understanding of this has been very important to me personally.
Toyoda: I’m delighted to say the day has come.
Toyoda: MS is the birthplace of America’s music. Like Koromo. Want to see Blue Springs become a great automotive town.
Toyoda: Corolla is best selling car in world. Was first car I ever owned. It is a great car. Challenge you to make it even better.
Toyoda: Remember, customer always comes first. US market is still most imp one. Let’s deliver to mkt the top quality Corolla.
Toyoda: Let’s make history together. (standing ovation)
BTW, many of these statements were met with applause.
Copenhaver: MS has produced many musical artists who have been met with national acclaim. Intro Homemade Jamz.
Homemade Jamz was youngest blues band to sign on major label. Band is playing on stage.
Lots of blues and old school music was played during intros.
I’m going to have to look up “Born to be Bad.” I think that was the snippet playing when 1st Corolla rolled out. (I looked up the song later. It was “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood.” I always get those two mixed up.)
Homemade Jamz is from Tupelo. 2 brothers. 1 sis. Their dad. Sis plays the drums. You go, girl!
Band members off the stage now. Playing down in the crowd.
Whoa. It looks like the guitars have dual exhaust pipes. What are those?!
Band wraps up. Gets standing O, applause and whistles.
Copenhaver: The band has created special gift for today. Presenting on stage.
Homemade Jamz dad: If y’all didn’t know it, you are in middle of MS Hills country.
Homemade Jamz: I know a lot of friends works up in here. Met a lot of friends.
Homemade Jamz: Thank you for bringing Toyota to the Hill Country area.
Homemade Jamz dad poked fun at @haleybarbour for his speech being too long.
Homemade Jamz dad: I’m a musician and folk artist. I made guitars my sons were playing.
And this was when I exceeded the daily limits for Tweets. I didn’t even know there was one.
So I started direct messaging our online editor tweets. More tweets you may or may not have seen:
Homemade Jamz dad: I made those guitars for Toyota. Have exhaust tips from Corolla. Muffler and the name Corolla on them.
Homemade Jamz unveils the 3 guitars that are a gift to Toyota.
Barbour unveils first new tag. It is “TMM MS1” with Union County. Toyoda and Barbour put it on the first Corolla.
Copenhaver: Thank you for being with us from the beginning. You are all truly valued. #TupeloMS
Copenhaver: That concludes our official ceremony. Please join us for lunch. (we hear it is BBQ from Hog Wild)
And the event is over at 12:45 p.m. (15 mins over) #ToyotaMS
Lots more coverage in Friday’s Daily Journal. Make sure you get a paper tomorrow.