In mid-September 2015, Toyota’s Alabama engine plant achieved a milestone worthy of celebration – 4 million engines produced. Officials at the Huntsville facility tried to put the feat into perspective. Put those 4 million engines end to end, and the line would stretch from Huntsville to Las Vegas. Harness the combined horsepower of those engines, they said, and it would be enough energy to launch 29 space shuttles.
The growth rate of Toyota’s Alabama engine plant is perhaps even more impressive. Since 2001, the facility has taken on several major investments and five expansions, the most recent a $106 million project to introduce new Toyota technology for the next generation of engines. When Toyota first announced plans for the Huntsville plant in 2001, the target was $220 million in investment and 350 workers. Today, after the rapid-fire expansions, Toyota’s investment at the facility stands at $970 million and the workforce has grown to 1,400 people. The growth has made the Alabama factory one of Toyota’s largest engine plants in the world.
The Huntsville plant began producing V8 engines in 2003, making it the first Toyota facility outside of Japan to produce truck engines. Today, it builds four-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines — the only facility in Toyota’s network that assembles all three under one roof. Each day, nearly 2,500 engines are built at the Alabama plant, which has an annual production capacity of 710,000 units. These engines go into six Toyota vehicles built in North America: Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Sequoia, Tacoma, and Tundra.