Five months after starting production and just weeks after starting its second production line shift, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi is making progress toward full capacity.
David Copenhaver, vice president of administration for the Blue Springs plant, said the facility will eventually be able to roll out 150,000 Corolla sedans a year.
While Copenhaver declined to reveal how many cars the plant is making now, he said steady progress was being made.
“Things are going well,” he said. “People work hard at the plant.”
The plant now employs just under 2,000 workers, or team members, as the Japanese automaker calls them.
At full production – expected later this year – those team members will be making more than 600 vehicles a day. The plant is in production mode 244 days a year, Copenhaver said.
Copenhaver spoke to the Tupelo Kiwanis Club on Friday.
Copenhaver also said Toyota Mississippi has a five-year plan to become the safest plant in the country. Daily and weekly meetings with key personnel keep safety top of mind, he said.
“Safety is our top value, not our top priority,” he said. “Priorities can change.”
Finally, Copenhaver noted the plant receives 92 semi-trucks worth of parts every day to build the Corollas. Seven key suppliers in the area contribute to that total, but still 30 percent of parts are imported.
He said the number of suppliers will grow as demand for the Corolla increases. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour also has said additional suppliers would locate in the state once the next-generation model is introduced.