FULTON, Miss. (AP) — A major automobile parts supplier for Toyota's assembly plant under construction in northeast Mississippi announced Tuesday it will locate in Itawamba County.
Toyota Boshoku Corp. will employ about 500 workers at the plant, which will supply the Highlander sport utility vehicle assembly plant being built near Blue Springs west of Tupelo. Officials said the plant will be operational at the same time Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi is in late 2009.
TBA officials said they were committed only to the first phase, but noted the plant is being built for further expansion if needed.
''We selected Itawamba County for several reasons,'' said Kiyoshi ''Nate'' Furuta, chairman and CEO of Toyota Boshoku America. ''The two main reasons are the work force and the county itself. People here have tremendous work ethic. I've been to plants around the world and have never seen a stronger work ethic than what I've seen here.''
Furuta was joined by Toyota Boshoku and Toyota Motor Corp. officials, and state and local leaders in announcing an $80 million facility that will be built in Itawamba County.
''This is great for all of northeast Mississippi ... it's good wherever you live,'' said Gov. Haley Barbour, according to an article on www.djournal.com.
The Itawamba County plant will be TBA's 20th in North America. The company also has its headquarters in Erlanger, Ky., and a research and development center in Novi, Mich.
Some 24 miles from the main Toyota assembly plant, the new plant will provide seats, door panels and carpet for Toyota.
Toyota Boshoku is the second supplier to announce location plans in Mississippi.
Last month, Toyota Auto Body announced it will build a $180 million plant to supply stamped parts, body weld parts and plastic parts. The site for that facility, which will employ about 260, hasn't been announced.
TBA was founded in 1918 by Sakichi Toyoda and is a member of the Toyota Group of businesses. It had revenue of $9 billion in 2006.