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By Chad Groening

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Employees of Toyota and their families were part of a very special celebration in Tupelo, Saturday.

It was literally a carvinal like experience for thousands of Toyota employees, Toyota supplier employees and their families at the Bancorp South Arena.

They gathered to celebrate the success of the Blue Springs plant, and for the introduction of the 2014 Corolla. Phil Rodi is Vice President of manufacturing for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi.

“We wanted their families to be part of our celebration. And we want to celebrate the sucess with them because they are intregal to our operations,” Rodi explains.

Carl Phillips works in the stamp tool and die department.

“That’s part of Toyota’s history,” the Water Valley native relates, “They are all about family and safety. And that’s what I like about them. Toyota is one of the greatest companies I have ever worked for.”

In August Toyota announced a milestone as over 40-million Toyota Corollas have been sold since production began. It is clearly the most popular selling automobile in the world. And there is only one plant in the United States where it is made. Right here in Northeast Mississippi.

“It means we’re going to be busy for a long time,” Rodi says. “If you notice our new model today, it’s a very stylish vehicle and we believe we’ll be busy for many many years to come.”

Jim Nichols of Carlock Toyota supplied a new 2014 S-model Corolla that was unveiled at the celebration. The fully loaded vehicle which is still very affordable for most people. Nichols says having Corollas built in Mississippi is a tremendous honor.

“It’s pretty incredible because we would be totally happy with any big factory that would have come here that made any type of automobile,” Nichols explains, “but to get the cream of the crop, the best vehicle in the world with the Toyota is just I can’t put it into words. We’re truely excited and truely happy.”

Nichols says the new Corolla will be displayed in the plant lobby for one year.

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