Toyota Mississippi is celebrating the first 2014 Corolla built at Blue Springs. On Saturday at the BancorpSouth arena in Tupelo, thousands of Toyota workers, suppliers, and their families witnessed the official line off ceremony. MPB’s Sandra Knispel has more.
(nat sound announcer)
The Corolla appeared on the stage amidst smoke, pyrotechnics, and flashing lights -- conjured up in perfect circus atmosphere by a magician and his assistants. The star in the arena was the first 2014 model to roll off the production line in Blue Springs. Masafumi Hamaguchi is the president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi:
“The strength, patience and dedication of each and everyone of you during this project has been the backbone of our success. I say ‘thank you very much!’” (applause)
The plant in Blue Springs now employs 2,000 people and has created another 1,300 jobs through its nearby suppliers. The economic impact is immense says Lt. Governor Tate Reeves:
"It’s hugely important for our entire state. One of our primary objectives is job creation in our state. But we have a political philosophy, which says government does not create jobs. Government simply creates an environment, which encourages the private sector to invest capital and create jobs. And what better example of our partnership with the private sector than Toyota.”
Employment at the Toyota plant is highly sought after, but those hoping for expansion have to be patient, says Blue Springs vice president of manufacturing, Phil Rodi.
“Not any time soon. But we’re always hiring because we have a little bit of attrition, so we’re hiring folks on a regular basis. But in terms of big mass hire – not for a little while yet.”
The Corolla is the world best-selling car with 40 million sold so far.
Sandra Knispel, MPB News.