Global leaders worldwide recognize Mississippi’s automotive industry is a powerful economic driver.
Each day, thousands of Mississippians work to ensure automotive manufacturers and suppliers deliver top-quality products to their consumers.
Since 2011, Toyota’s Mississippi team has produced the Corolla, the world’s best-selling vehicle model, in Blue Springs. The plant and its 1,550 team members have achieved numerous milestones putting Toyota Mississippi and our automotive industry in the global spotlight, demonstrating “Made in Mississippi” is a stamp of quality around the world.
Toyota Mississippi started exporting Corollas from Mississippi to Central and South America and the Caribbean in 2014. The plant celebrated the production of its 500,000 th vehicle the following year, a milestone reached faster than any other Toyota plant in the country. This achievement is a prime example of Toyota Mississippi’s skilled and productive workforce. Earlier this year, Toyota Mississippi began celebrations commemorating the 10th anniversary of the plant’s groundbreaking, which took place in April 2007. On that day, the world realized industry-leading Toyota found the formula for success in Mississippi, a fact the company has proven numerous times since then.
In honor of the anniversary, Toyota announced it was rolling out the red carpet for visitors in Blue Springs by building a nearly $10 million interactive visitors center to offer public tours showcasing how thousands of Mississippians successfully produce Corollas. Toyota also announced donations totaling $350,000 to focus on the next generation of skilled team members through STEM and family literacy programs — two examples of the philanthropic spirit Toyota Mississippi shares throughout the state. A free community concert in downtown Tupelo capped anniversary celebrations in November.
Before the close of this monumental year, Toyota Mississippi will achieve another major milestone as the plant rolls its one millionth Corolla off the line. Since Day 1, Toyota Mississippi and its employees have proven they can compete and win on a global scale from North Mississippi. One million of the world’s best-selling vehicles have been assembled in Blue Springs, a town of approximately 150 residents before Toyota arrived.
Every state wants a Toyota plant. Automotive manufacturing plants contribute greatly to the economy and create thousands of direct and indirect jobs. It takes the dedicated teamwork of many individuals to win a plant like Toyota Mississippi. It takes the hard work of many more to help them achieve long-term growth and success once a company does choose a location to build a plant. Economic development is fiercely competitive. Mississippi competes successfully to retain and recruit private capital investment to the state.
While we are a comparatively small state, we are able to punch above our weight as a result of strong statewide collaboration. The foundation of Mississippi’s economic development success is built on effective teamwork involving local economic developers, utilities, education leaders, workforce training professionals, the Mississippi Development Authority, the Legislature and Gov. Phil Bryant — all operating with a high level of trust, cooperation and competence.
Toyota Mississippi’s decision to locate in Blue Springs and the thousands of careers created as a result must be attributed to strong, committed leadership at all levels of government playing to win for the people of Mississippi. The plant’s many successes and milestones over the last decade are the direct result of a strong, quality, trained workforce committed to a job well done.
MDA congratulates Toyota Mississippi on reaching the one-million mark. The state of Mississippi looks forward to many more celebrations and milestones as we move together forward with Toyota.
Glenn McCullough Jr. is executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.