Marion, Arkansas Seen As Likely Choice For New Toyota Plant

Local paper says Marion is the automaker’s focus, though Toyota declined to comment.

Marion, Arkansas, will be the site of Toyota’s new manufacturing plant, according to an article in The Morning News, a Northwest Arkansas-based paper.

The newspaper cites Michael Randle, editor and publisher for Southern Business and Development magazine saying, “We believe…that Marion will be the site and we think that Hino will operate a truck line at the plant — that it will be a Toyota and Hino facility.”

The paper notes that the possible 1,750-acre site in Marion is near two interstate highways and two rail lines, as well as the Mississippi River, and that 5 community colleges in the area have received $11 million in grants that could aid training for auto manufacturing jobs.

Toyota, on the other hand, has yet to release any information on a potential plant location.

The article cited Dan Sieger, Toyota North America spokesman adding: “We have been studying this and we have been looking at sites. However, as a matter of policy, we don’t discuss where we are in the study, what sites we may be looking at or a timetable for a decision.”

Previous media reports said Toyota, who is reportedly looking at locations in Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina, had narrowed its search to the Marion site and a site in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the new North American facility would have a capacity of 200,000 vehicles annually and would likely begin production in 2009.

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