Toyota shifts gears, plans to build new SUV at Alabama plant

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2018, file photo the logo of Toyota is displayed at the Auto Expo in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, India. Toyota said Wednesday, July 10, 2019, that it will scrap plans to build the Corolla compact car at a new factory under construction in Alabama. Instead it will build a new unspecified SUV at the plant it’s building with Mazda in Huntsville.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Toyota says it will scrap plans to build the Corolla compact car at a new factory under construction in Alabama. Instead it will build a new unspecified SUV at the plant it's building with Mazda in Huntsville.

The company said Wednesday that the decision is being made in response to growing demand for SUVs and light trucks. For the first half of this year, Corolla sales are down 5.3 percent, to just under 153,000.

Toyota will continue to build Corollas at its factory in Blue Springs, Mississippi.

The new $1.6 billion Alabama plant is expected to start making vehicles in 2021. Mazda also plans to build a new yet-to-be-unveiled SUV there.

The factory will employ up to 4,000 workers.

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