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Alabama Auto Industry Booming As New Toyota-Mazda Money Flows

Alabama Auto Industry Booming As New Toyota-Mazda Money Flows


With Toyota-Mazda’s announcement of a joint venture to build a 4,000-worker assembly plant in Huntsville, Alabama, many auto industry experts are now calling Alabama the auto capital of the south.

The $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda plant capped off another major year of growth for the Alabama auto industry, which has seen substantial growth in recent years.

Earlier this week the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa County witnessed their 3 millionth vehicle roll off the production line and into the hands of an American customer.

“We’re already starting off 2018 with an exciting milestone – a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team members,” Jason Hoff, CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc., said according to Alabama News Center.

The excitement surrounding automotive revitalization in Alabama is palpable, but Toyota-Mazda will need to proceed with caution.

Accusations surrounding unsafe work environments have been persistent since the state ramped up auto production. However, since 95% to 96% of personal injury lawsuits never go to trial, very little had been done to fix the problem.

Soon after, a girl lost her life in an avoidable accident.

Regina Elsea was working a shift at the Ajin USA factory in Cusseta, Alabama when one of the machines stopped working. After waiting impatiently for help, Elsea decided to take it upon herself to fix it, though she had never received training to do so. The team needed to make quota, and they were already behind.

After Elsea corrected the problem, the machine sprung into life, crushing her inside. Though her team managed to press the emergency shut-off switch, no one knew how to free her from the robot.

After rescue workers arrived, Elsea was brought to a hospital. She died a day later from her injuries.

This case caused then OSHA runner David Michaels great anguish.

“This brings shame on your reputation. American consumers are not going to want to buy cars stained with the blood of American workers,” Bloomberg reports Michaels telling car makers based in Alabama.

This certainly sets the tone for the joint venture Toyota-Mazda aims to build in Huntsville. That tone is, as workers believe it should be, Safety First.