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article imageToyota and Mazda link up to build $1.6 billion EV plant in U.S.

By Karen Graham     Aug 4, 2017 in Business
Toyota and Mazda on Friday announced plans to build a $1.6 billion auto manufacturing plant somewhere in the U.S., creating as many as 4,000 jobs building electric vehicles. The facility will produce 300,000 EVs a year and will be operational by 2021.
The joint venture between the two automakers will be a capital partnership, on the premise that Toyota will take a roughly five percent stake in Mazda, which in turn would invest in the other party as well, reports Nikkei.
Nikkei notes the partnership is further evidence of the global consolidation of the auto industry centered around four leading camps — Toyota, Germany's Volkswagen, America's General Motors and the alliance between France's Renault and Nissan Motors.
The move is seen as a win for President Trump who attacked Toyota earlier this year over the automaker's plans to build a new factory in Guanajuato, Mexico. Trump said he would slap a "big border tax" on Toyota cars if the plant wasn't built in the U.S. Toyota had intended to build Corollas at the Mexico plant, and has since decided to produce Tacoma pickup trucks instead.
2015 Toyota Tacoma.
2015 Toyota Tacoma.
The working agreement between the two companies comes at a time when the world is tightening emissions regulations, prompting more automakers to develop electric vehicle technologies to stay competitive. And in the U.S., there is the added risk of Trump's "protectionist" trade policies to take into consideration.
Nearly half the vehicles Toyota sells in the U.S. are made in America, while Mazda lacks a factory in the U.S., importing its vehicles from Mexico and Japan. So, there is the hope that this joint-venture will soften American consumer wariness over the growing market share held by Japanese cars.
Automakers moving toward electric vehicles will find some serious competition from tech companies, such as Google, Apple, and others. The development of next-generation technologies, like self-driving vehicles and advancements in batteries and storage, as well as in-car information platforms, will give the world clean-driving vehicles that are less costly to maintain and drive.
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