Toyota Mississippi on track for fall opening; staff up to 840

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

BLUE SPRINGS – Last month, Volkswagen opened its Chattanooga assembly plant with 2,000 workers and Kia said it was hiring 1,000 new workers for its Georgia plant.
Joining them soon will be Toyota’s Blue Springs plant.
In the fall, the first Mississippi-built Toyota Corolla will roll off the assembly line at the Japanese automaker’s facility there.
And with it, about 1,200 people will be working at the plant.
But Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi isn’t quite ready to produce the world’s best-selling sedan yet – work still needs to be completed inside the plant, and the company needs more workers.
“We’re having a slow ramp up to get to where we need to be,” said TMMMS spokeswoman Emily Holland. “But it’s going well.”
The factory now employs some 840 employees, but with Toyota facilities in the middle of their traditional mid-year break, another batch of employees isn’t starting until July 18.
However, work continues on the plant to get equipment installed and ready for production, Holland said.
Progress on the main areas of the facility:
– Stamping: 99 percent complete
– Weld shop: 99 percent
– Paint shop: 90 percent
– Assembly: 84 percent
Three Tier 1 suppliers in Northeast Mississippi – Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi in Baldwyn, Diversity-Vuteq in New Albany and Toyota Boshoku in Dorsey also have been hiring and now employ some 400 workers.
“Everything I’m hearing is very positive,” said Randy Kelley, executive director of Three Rivers Planning and Development District. “Everything seems to be going in the right direction.”
Officials have said Toyota Mississippi will employ about 2,000 workers once it reaches full capacity, when the plant can produce 150,000 vehicles a year. Suppliers, of which there are seven now with more expected, will employ an additional 2,000 workers.
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@journalinc.com.