By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
BLUE SPRINGS – About an hour into the morning shift at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi – at 7:22 a.m., to be exact – workers put the finishing touches on a Barcelona Red Corolla with a dark gray interior.
The car, destined for a customer in southern California, was a little more special than most.
It was the plant’s 100,000th Corolla.
The Sport model of the Corolla was rolled off the assembly line nearly a year after operations began at the 2 million-square-foot facility.
Toyota Mississippi began production on Oct. 24, 2011. A public “line-off” ceremony was held nearly a month later.
“Toyota Mississippi is proud to produce our 100,000th Corolla,” said Toyota spokesman Victor Vanov. “By putting our customers first, we strive to reward them with a smile by ensuring that safety and quality is built into every Corolla that rolls off the line here in Blue Springs.
“We thank our team members, suppliers and local business and community partners for their continued support and guidance. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in Mississippi and realize that our work has just begun.”
The plant employs 2,000 workers which are called “team members” by the Japanese automaker.
Vanov said hiring hasn’t stopped at the plant, which continues to fill skilled worker positions and administrative posts.
When fully operational, the plant is expected to produce up to 150,000 Corollas a year. Toyota also builds the Corolla in Canada.
The Corolla is among the top 10 best-selling cars in the U.S., and is Toyota’s second-best seller, behind the mid-sized Camry sedan.
Through September, Toyota has sold 222,703 of the compact-sized Corolla. That’s up 18.6 percent from last year, when Toyota’s production was interrupted by a devastating tsunami.