BLUE SPRINGS, MISS. (WCBI) – For more than two years now, the best selling vehicle in the world has been made in northeast Mississippi. Now, workers at the Blue Springs plant have made the first Corolla that will be exported.
It was a celebration with a tropical feel.
The afternoon announcement brought Governor Phil Bryant, officials from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi and a host of elected officials to see the first Toyota Corolla made in Mississippi for export to customers in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Workers at the Blue Springs plant will make more than 7,500 Corollas for 18 countries.
Governor Bryant says the new export opportunity puts Mississippi on the world stage and also highlights its quality workforce.
“I hope in the future it will mean more expansion, more jobs, but again, the idea that Mississippi is able to advance in this manufacturing is always good for our image,” Gov. Bryant said.
For the two thousand team members at the Blue Springs plant, making Corollas for consumers in other countries is not only a source of pride, but also job security.
“The team members are very excited, and when they’re on line they’re thinking, wow this vehicle is going to Chile, this vehicle is going to Costa Rica, so it’s been an extremely good buzz for our team members,” said Sean Suggs, V.P of Administration at TMMMS.
In fact, team member Shere Solomon drove the first Corolla built for export and also represented her fellow workers during the brief ceremony.
‘It’s a great car, a fun car,” Solomon said.
Last year, Toyota’s exports totaled more than 130,000 units, a 5 percent increase from the previous year and an all time high for the company. Now, cars coming off the line in Mississippi will add to those numbers.
Corollas made for export are similar to domestic models. However, because of different road conditions in other countries, export models sit higher than domestic models. Also, most exports don’t have radios and as many extras as domestic models.