By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
BLUE SPRINGS – The much-anticipated line-off ceremony marking the first Mississippi-built Corolla will be Nov. 17.
The event, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is for invited guests only at the plant. A special public celebration will be held the next day in Tupelo.
Among the guests is Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Leland Speed, who said, “I am excited Toyota will be celebrating its start of production in Blue Springs, with a line-off ceremony later this month. I look forward to joining company executives, Toyota’s North Mississippi team members and other state and local officials for this milestone event.”
Gov. Haley Barbour also will attend the ceremony, as will Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda.
Guests will be shuttled to the plant from the Tupelo Furniture Market, starting promptly at 11 a.m., with check-in starting at 10 a.m., according to the invitation. No vehicles will be allowed to park at the plant.
And this friendly advice: “Only guests with event access passes will be allowed to board shuttles. Guests traveling to the plant in personal vehicles will not be granted property access” that day.
Production of the Corolla sedan began in earnest last month, and the Nov. 17 ceremony will mark the official roll-off of the plant’s first vehicle.
Earlier last month, Toyota closed the application process for production workers, after having identified the applicants it planned to bring aboard the Blue Springs plant.
With more than 1,200 workers now at the facility, Toyota Mississippi expects to employ 1,500 by year’s end.
At full capacity – when the plant is able to produce 150,000 vehicles a year – it will employ 2,000 workers.
Suppliers for the plant are expected to employ an additional 2,000 employees.