Toyota has announced that it has chosen a 200-acre site in Jackson, Tennessee to build a die-casting plant to make aluminium engine blocks. The Tennessee facility, a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc. will be the third plant of Bodine Aluminium, Inc., Toyota’s Missouri-based aluminium block die-casting unit.

The Jackson facility, which will begin operations in 2005 and be expanded over several years, will eventually produce one million units annually; employ 200 team members and have an investment of $124 million.

“We are proud to welcome Toyota to Tennessee,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “A world-leader in the automotive industry, they will be an active and integral part of our state’s business community. We look forward to working with them to assure long-term economic success for both Toyota and West Tennessee communities.”

“I’m pleased Toyota recognises the benefits of putting its new engine block plant in Jackson, Tennessee,” said U.S. Senator Bill Frist. “This is a welcome addition for West Tennesseans, and I hope that Toyota’s decision will encourage other companies to take advantage of Tennessee’s strengths and consider locating in our great state.”

“These Toyota jobs are the best kind of good paying new jobs for Jackson and West Tennessee,” said U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander. “Tennessee is becoming the geographical centre of the American automobile industry. Since 1983, 900 new auto parts suppliers with 150,000 new jobs have helped raise Tennesseans’ family incomes. Toyota helped bring thousands of those jobs to Tennessee and should bring more in years to come.”

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our business in Tennessee,” added Dennis Cuneo, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc. “We already have a significant impact in Tennessee through our suppliers, dealerships and existing Toyota operations.

“As Toyota grows its manufacturing operations in North America, this Bodine plant will be a vital element in our expanding engine assembly,” Cuneo added.

Bodine Aluminium was founded in 1912 and became a Toyota subsidiary in 1990. The company’s two plants in Troy and St. Louis, Missouri produce cylinder heads, cylinder blocks and other castings for most of Toyota’s North America-produced vehicles. The company employs over 900 people in its two facilities.

Toyota currently has ten vehicle manufacturing and parts facilities in North America, and is building three more — in Huntsville, Alabama; Baja California, Mexico; and San Antonio, Texas.

By 2006, Toyota says it will have the capacity to build 1.65 million cars and trucks a year and 1.16 million engines in North America.