The Latest: Alabama incentives for factory top $700 million

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on the Toyota-Mazda factory coming to Alabama (all times local):

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8:15 p.m.

Alabama's total incentive package to land Toyota and Mazda's new U.S. factory will top at least $700 million after local incentives are added.

The Huntsville City Council on Thursday approved a $320 million local incentive package for the factory. That is in addition to $380 million offered by the state in tax abatements, investment rebates and the construction of a worker training facility.

The city's offer to the Japanese auto manufacturers included providing the land, building a road to the factory and property tax abatements worth $107 million over 20 years.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the project will bring economic benefits to the region for generations. The factory will employ 4,000 people.

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"If there ever was a slam dunk deal, this is a great one," Battle said.

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10 p.m.

Alabama has entered the fast lane in its bid to become a major auto making hub in the South, landing a coveted $1.6 billion joint venture plant of Toyota and Mazda that is to eventually employ thousands.

The new plant will be located in Huntsville, Alabama — already a hub for the region's aerospace industry — and will produce 300,000 vehicles per year, a combination of the Toyota Corolla compact car and a new small crossover SUV from Mazda. Production is expected to begin by 2021.

Toyota and Mazda will join Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai which operate assembly plants in Alabama. The Center for Automotive Research says Alabama is tied with Tennessee as the fifth-largest producer of vehicles in the country last year, according to the Center for Automotive Research