By Glenn McCullough Jr.
A little more than a decade ago, Mississippi had never produced a commercial vehicle. Today, about 4 million vehicles assembled in the state are on the road around the world, and production is showing no signs of slowing down.
For Mississippians, more significant than production milestones are the contributions Toyota and Nissan have made to the state and local economy. These automotive manufacturers are responsible for the creation of thousands of careers and the investment of billions of dollars in the state.
This year, Toyota celebrates 10 years since the announcement it would locate in Blue Springs, Miss. Today, a Corolla, one of the world’s top-selling vehicle models, rolls off the assembly line every 71 seconds thanks to the Toyota Mississippi team. This team of Mississippi men and women assembled 500,000 vehicles faster than any other Toyota plan in North America, proving once again the extraordinary quality of our workforce.
Nissan’s Canton assembly plant produces eight models and is the global source for the Murano. The more than 3 million vehicles assembled at the Canton, Miss., facility solidifies the state’s position as a leader in the Southern Automotive Corridor.
More important than the number of vehicles assembled in the state is the economic impact companies like Toyota, Nissan and almost 200 automotive suppliers have on their local communities and to the state.
In a study published in 2016 by national think tank The Center for Automotive Research, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi is responsible for a payroll of approximately $307 million, creating $235 million in disposable income. Additionally, the report also estimates Toyota supports 6,700 direct and indirect jobs. Toyota’s Mississippi-made workforce also is responsible for assembling more than 850,000 vehicles, and the company expects to produce the 1 million mark by the end of 2017.
Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research center also recently published a study highlighting Nissan’s contribution to the state’s economy. NSPARC estimates the presence of Nissan in Mississippi contributes $2.9 billion to the annual state gross domestic product. The automotive giant is responsible for 25,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.
Combined, Mississippi’s two original equipment manufacturers are responsible for an estimated 31,700 direct and indirect careers for hard-working people of our state. These careers create disposable income which is reinvested in our communities.
A vital component of the Mississippi Development Authority’s mission is to build stronger communities. In addition to our aggressive recruitment of global companies to the state like Continental Tire and Yokohama Tire, MDA is committed to developing local leaders. Strong leaders initiate community development, which leads to economic development. Successful communities are often the result of focused and forward-thinking leaders who create an environment where businesses can thrive. It is leadership at the state and local levels which resulted in Toyota and Nissan deciding Mississippi is the right location for their operations.
Today, Mississippi reaps the benefits of Toyota and Nissan’s investment in our state and our people. We all share the responsibility to ensure we position more Mississippi communities for success. Investing in the infrastructure of people means every Mississippian wins. Together, Mississippi, Toyota, Nissan and the many automotive suppliers are part of the winning team responsible for revving up Mississippi’s automotive industry. DBJ
Glenn McCullough Jr. is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority.